Depending on the child custody award, a noncustodial parent is generally obligated to pay child support to the custodial parent. This support is an invaluable tool in ensuring the children are able to maintain a similar standard of living to what they were accustomed to before the divorce was finalized. Additionally, it covers childcare expenses that the parent would normally have been responsible for had the divorce not taken place. But what happens when the paying parent falls behind on their payments?
If a parent intentionally falls behind on payments, skips them or stops paying altogether, there are legal recovery methods that can be utilized.
First of all, it is possible that money be automatically held from the paying parent’s bonuses, commissions, retirement benefits, workers’ compensation, disability benefits, pensions or other forms of income. While most child support orders include language for automatically withholding payments, those without it can approach their local child support office to get the same outcome.
Back payments are different from retroactive payments. While back payments can be recovered this way, retroactive payments cannot. Retroactive payments are those that are made during the period the divorce is filed for and child support payments begin.
If more than $2500 is owed in child support, then the US Department of State can take additional measures to recover payments. This can include denying a new passport or refusing to renew one, offsetting taxes, garnishing wages, seizing assets and putting a lien against vehicles or real estates.
Neglecting to pay child support that you are legally obligated to do so has serious repercussions. Parents who are in this situation may want to consult an experienced family law attorney to discuss their options and take advantage of all the state and federal remedies available to them.