A child support lawyer knows that raising a child is expensive, which is something that the legal guardians of children fully understand. However, this extraordinary expense is often neglected by the other parent who is responsible for child support, who somehow either fails to grasp the importance of their support payments or simply does not care enough about their child to make payments a priority in their lives. Either way, the parent with physical custody is left to provide for themselves, and they often believe that there is no way to hold the other parent accountable for the payments that they have continued to neglect.
How Child Support Orders Can be Enforced
Paying child support is often neglected when the paying parent has a low source of income, has lost a job, cannot get good-paying work, has an addiction to alcohol or another substance, is incarcerated, or simply believes that the support order is unfair to them and that they should not have to pay so much.
Regardless of their excuse, they are legally responsible for past and current payments and will be responsible for future payments unless a modification is ordered by a judge. Every state has its own specific laws regarding the penalties for delinquent child support, however, the following are generally the steps the state will take:
- Wage withholding
- Child support debt goes on the party’s credit score
- Use private debt collection agencies to collect past child support owed
- Unemployment payment withholding
- Lien against property, either a financial account or real or personal property
- Suspension of certain licenses, such as occupational, professional, driver’s, or hunting/fishing license
- Wage garnishment
- Withholding of tax return income
- Denial of passports
- Criminal prosecution, including up to six months of jail time
Tracking Down Out-of-State Parents
It can be even more difficult to recover child support payments from a parent who has fled the state the child support order was issued in. While this situation seems hopeless, the federal government may be able to locate the delinquent paying parent with the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS), under the Office of Child Support Enforcement. This program works throughout the country to track down parents and enforce child support orders, locating parents in a variety of ways and enforcing through passport denials, wage withholding, and numerous other strategies.
Contact a Family Law Firm for Legal Assistance
If you are having a difficult time collecting the child support your ex has been ordered to pay, there are legal steps you can take to ensure they live up to their legal parental obligations. Call an experienced attorney, like a child support lawyer from a law firm like The Law Office of Daniel E. Stuart, P.A.