Child Support Enforcement
What happens when the court orders a noncustodial parent to pay child support and they do not do so? What actions can the custodial parent take to get the support due them?
Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984
If you are in a position where you must take legal action in order to collect money due for child support, a district attorney can help you using the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984. The noncustodial, non-paying parent is served with a court order directing them to meet with the district attorney and arrange payment terms. If the non-paying parent does not show up for the meeting, they could be sentenced to time in jail. The court tries to use this as a last resort because putting the parent in jail means they are usually not able to earn any money. Other penalties imposed because of non-payment or ways to collect the support include:
- Garnishing the wages of the non-paying parent
- Seizing property
- Revoking their driver’s license
- Suspending an occupational license
- Suspending a business license
- Directing the State Department to deny a passport to anyone who is more than $2500 behind in child support
If none of these remedies are successful in getting the child support paid, the judge may sentence the parent to time in jail. Again, this is not what the judge would prefer, as time in jail means the parent is unable to earn money to pay child support.
What Happens if My Ex Moves Out of State?
A non-custodial parent who moves or lives in another state is legally bound to pay child support. If they are not paying support, you have options:
- If the state you live in has personal jurisdiction over your child’s parent, you can petition the court to enforce the child support on the non-paying parent
- If your state does not have personal jurisdiction over the non-paying parent, you can request that the court in the state you reside forward the order for child support to the court in the state where the non-paying parent resides and then that court enforces the child support
- Forward the child support order to the non-paying parent’s employer and ask them to garnish the parent’s wages.
What Happens if My Ex Files for Bankruptcy?
Child support payments cannot be discharged in bankruptcy court. Your ex will always be responsible for the amount of child support owed.
Can I Get Child Support in Arrears if I Wait Until a Year after the Divorce to File?
You should file for child support as soon as you become permanently separated — even before the divorce is final. If you wait a year and then request child support, the court will only order payments at the time they are requested in court.
Contact an Attorney
If your child is entitled to receive monetary support from your ex and that parent is not complying with the court orders, there are several options you can take to get the payments. Ask a family law attorney, like The Mckinney Law Group about the child support in your state to find a solution for your situation.