When married couples divorce and children are involved, the court will order child support as part of the final divorce decree. For parents who never married, the procedure to get child support also involves a court order. An experienced family law attorney can work with a parent to ensure that their child receives the support they need, establishing paternity where necessary.
It may be that the parent who is responsible for paying child support owes money for a period of time before a child support order is issued. Some courts will reach back years to calculate support that a parent should have paid to financially support their child, while other states limit retroactive support to the date a custodial parent applies for support. It is important to work with an experienced child support attorney to establish an order for child support and determine if retroactive support is payable.
After a child support order is in place, the parent ordered to pay support must pay the full amount of support ordered each month or risk being in arrears. If a parent fails to make payments, the other parent may seek to have the order enforced and back payments satisfied. A child support attorney can help parents navigate the enforcement process so that a child has the financial support they need.
Enforcement of a Child Support Order
Just because a parent is ordered to pay child support doesn’t mean they will always follow through. There are several methods for collecting child support that a recipient can pursue:
- One method for collecting child support includes wage withholding aka wage garnishment where an employer is order to deduct the child support amount for an obligor’s check every month. Withholding is not limited to wages, but may also come from commission income, employment bonuses and pension benefits.
- Another tool to collect child support includes withholding refund payments of federal and state tax returns and other government payments to satisfy overdue child support. Even if an obligor has remarried, their portion of a federal or state tax refund may be taken to offset child support arrears.
- If an obligor owns real estate or other property such as a car, a recipient of child support may place a lien on the property so that if the owner of the property wishes to sell the property, they must pay the lien before the transaction can take place. Depending on the circumstances, a holder of a lien may be able to force the sale of the property to pay off the lien.
- Certainly a state can revoke or suspend an obligor’s driver’s license and even their professional license to prompt the payment of child support. Because this method can limit an obligor’s ability to earn a living, it may not be in the child’s best interest, so it is often reserved for cases where an obligor has made no effort to support a child despite other enforcement measures.
- Obligors may also have their accounts held by certain financial institutions frozen, until the child support debt is paid. An obligor’s bank or credit union may even be authorized to seize the amount owed form an obligor’s account to forward to a child support agency.
Contact an Experienced Child Support Lawyer for Help Today
If you have questions regarding how to obtain child support payments or need assistance enforcing a child support order, contact the family law office of Ronald L Bell & Associates P.C. for immediate assistance today 847-495-6000.