Child Support Enforcement


Unfortunately, non-payment of child support is commonplace. Several measures have been enacted by statue (law) to facilitate the collection of child support.


By Garnishment

One of the most common methods of collecting child support is to garnish the salary of the payor (non-custodial) parent, which can include current payments and an additional payment representing arrears (past due child support). This technique is very effective where the payor (non-custodial) parent is an employee who is “on the books”; the employer will honor the garnishment and not attempt to frustrate the collection of money as doing so could make the employer directly responsible for the payments.

However, where the payor (non-custodial) parent is being paid in cash, or partially in cash, or the payor (non-custodial) parent owns the business, the effectiveness of a garnishment is greatly reduced.


By Judgment

Another means of collecting child support is by securing a judgment (representing accrued unpaid child support) against a payor (non-custodial) parent. This judgment constitutes a lien against that person’s interest in real property, be it marital or separate, and once entered in the County Clerk’s record, collects statutory interest (unless otherwise agreed). The entry of a money judgment against the payor spouse adversely affects that person’s credit. Once the judgement is entered in the County Clerk’s office, a lawyer can issue legal instruments to the payor (non-custodial) person’s bank and “tie up” or restrain money on deposit and, thereafter requests, that the sheriff collect the money.


By a Tax Refund Intercept

In addition, once a child support award has been reduced to a judgment, there is the referral of the payor (non-custodial) parent of child support to the government. If the payor (non-custodial) parent is entitled to a tax refund, there may very well be an intercept of the tax refund in order to satisfy in whole or in part the outstanding child support arrears. An intercept is effective even if the payor (non-custodial) parent has remarried and filed a joint return with the new spouse.


By Contempt

The remedy of contempt, that is, among other things, the jailing of the non-paying spouse, may be the only remedy that would effectively compel the payment of money. However, to secure contempt, the party seeking to enforce the child support award needs to petition the court and the court must hold a hearing. Such a procedure can be costly and time consuming.


By License Suspension

A driver’s license or other professional license may be suspended as a result of the non-payment of child support. An application to the court may be required to achieve this. (If payment of support is through the child support collection unit, upon non-payment of support, this is one of the methods to compel payment that is used).

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