Enforcing a Child Support Order
There are a variety of different enforcement tools that are available to you in enforcing your court order for child support. You can use these tools by hiring a private attorney to help you, filing the appropriate paperwork with the court on your own, or applying for assistance through your local child support enforcement office. All states have a child support enforcement agency where you can get help with child support enforcement for free, or by paying a small fee.
One of the most common ways for enforcing child support is to have the payments directly garnished from the other parent’s paycheck. The court, or, in some states, your local child support enforcement agency, can issue a garnishment or income withholding order to the other parent’s employer so that you receive your payments according to the terms of your court order. Even if you don’t know where the other parent works, your local child support enforcement agency often will have access to employment information from different sources, which will help you get a garnishment order.
Getting Help From Your Local Child Support Enforcement Office
There are other administrative actions that your local child support enforcement agency can take to get your child support payments. The agency can intercept state and federal income tax refunds, seize lottery and casino winnings, attach bank accounts, place liens on real estate and vehicles, suspend driver’s licenses, professional licenses, such as a real estate or teaching license, and recreational licenses, such as a fishing license.
Going Back To Court
If taking administrative actions still doesn’t get your child support payments coming in, you can also turn to the court that issued your child support order for help. In most states, you can file a civil contempt citation against the other parent for failure to pay child support, which asks the court to enforce its child support order, and can result in incarceration or other sanctions against that parent. Your attorney or child support enforcement agency can file the necessary paperwork for a civil contempt citation, but in many states, you can file this paperwork on your own by filling out a few simple forms.
Contacting the State Prosecutor
In situations where the amount of back child support, or support arrearages, is very high, your local prosecutor or state’s attorney’s office may even be able to file criminal charges against the other parent for non-payment, which may result in probation, home detention, or incarceration. In many states, criminal non-support can be a felony, which can result in a lengthy period of incarceration.
Enforcing an Out-of-State Child Support Order
Even if the other parent lives out of state, you can still enforce your child support order. Every state has enacted some version of the Uniform Interstate Support Enforcement Act (“UIFSA”), which allows state child support enforcement agencies to work cooperatively with one another in enforcing other states’ child support orders. For example, if Mary lives in Illinois, John is ordered to pay her child support, but John has now moved to Indiana, then the Illinois child support enforcement agency can file a UIFSA action that asks Indiana to enforce the Illinois child support order.
In summary, you have many options for enforcing your child support order. However, it is up to you to take the first step and seek help in collecting child support for your child. Contact an attorney for more information about these options, and others, which may be available to help you enforce your child support order.
For more information on child support enforcement, contact a child support attorney today.
The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.
Additional Child Support Articles
- Understanding Child Support
- Calculating Child Support
- Enforcing a Child Support Order Out of State
- How to Modify a Child Support Order
- Intercepting Tax Refunds When a Parent Fails to Pay Child Support
- Can Child Support Payments be Automatically deducted from a Parent's Paycheck?
- Do I Have to Pay Child Support if I Don't Get to See My Children?
- Do I Need a Lawyer to Establish or Enforce a Child Support Order?
- Child Support FAQ
- What Is Child Support?
- What Is Child Support Used For?
- When Can A Child Support Order Be Changed Or Modified?
- How Long Must Child Support Be Paid?
- What Other Items Do Formulas Consider?
- My Husband And I Have Decided To Use Artificial Insemination To Have A Child. Will The Donor Be Obligated To Support The Child?
- Can The Parent Limit The Amount Of Future Child Support That Is To Be Paid To The Other (Custodial) Parent?
- Can One Parent Be Ordered To Pay Child Support Even If She Never Married The Other (Custodial) Parent?
- I'm Marrying A Man Who Has Children From A Previous Marriage. He Regularly Pays His Child Support. Since I Earn More Than My Fiance, Am I Held Responsible?
- If The Obligor Parent Doesn't Pay, Can Visitation Be Stopped?
- My Wife Has Threatened To File For Bankruptcy. What Effect Does Bankruptcy Have On Child Support?
- My Income Dropped Dramatically When I Was Laid Of My Job And Cannot Make My Child Support Payments. Is There Anyway I Can Lower My Child Support Payments?
- What Efforts Can Be Taken To Collect Child Support From The Parent Who Does Not Pay?
- What If The Obligee Does Not Spend Any Money On The Child?
- What Is The Parent Locater Service?
- What Other Collection Remedies Are Available?
- What Effect Does Bankruptcy Have On Child Support?
- What Is Child Support, And How Is Child Support Determined?
- What Factors Are Used To Calculate Child Support Payments? Can The Amount Of The Payment Change Over Time?
- Is A Father Who Never Married The Mother Still Required To Pay Child Support? What If The Father Is Not Allowed To See The Child?
- What Happens To A Father Who Refuses To Pay Court Ordered Child Support?
- Does Every State Follow The Same Formula In Calculating Child Support?
- Can A Child Support Order Be Changed Or Modified?
- My Ex Is Not Making Child Support Payments – What Can I Do?
- How Is Child Support Ordered And What Exactly Is It?
- When May Maintenance And Support Be Awarded By A Court?
- Can the amount of support payments be changed?