Ensuring Protection: Child Support Enforcement

Posted on: 13 June 2016

For the divorcing parents of a minor child, the issue of child support is nearly a certainty. The family courts can and will require the inclusion of a child support provision, unless the parents have agreed to shared 50/50 parenting where both parents will be sharing equal amounts of custody. It may be helpful to understand how the courts view child support and how the provisions are enforced, since the courts take a very serious line on protecting the most innocent victims of a divorce situation. Read on for more information on what could happen if child support is not paid as ordered.

Possible Penalties for Non-support

Wages may be garnished. This means that the custodial parent can obtain a court order that removes a portion of the deadbeat's paycheck before they receive it. The garnishment goes directly to the custodial parent for the support of the child.

  • Loss of property. If the deadbeat parent has no income, the custodial parent can go after their property; be it a vehicle, a boat, stock and investments, and more.
  • Contempt of court charges with accompanying fees and/or jail time.
  • Income tax refund seizure.
  • Losing eligibility for government aid programs like Section 8 housing assistance and food stamps.
  • Losing eligibility for government-backed loan guarantee programs like FHA and USDA mortgage loans.
  • Losing eligibility for government-backed student loan programs.
  • Driver's license revocation.

Federal Enforcement

Regardless of where the original child support order was handed down, every state has the ability to enforce the order and punish the deadbeat parent for non-support. The Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act allows a deadbeat to be charged with a federal crime if they are suspected of moving from one state to another to avoid paying child support.

If You Cannot Pay

Ignoring a mounting child support debt burden is ill-advised, and will only cause more problems. Child support enforcement agencies are normally willing to work with the parent who is having trouble meeting the payments with a payment plan to help them get caught up. If a job loss or a reduction in income has occurred, a court order to reduce or suspend child support amounts could be in order, even if it's only a temporary solution. The divorce attorney must submit a request for a hearing where the family court judge will consider the request to amend the child support order.

For more information about child support enforcement, contact your divorce attorney.