A parent with physical custody of a child has several options for enforcing the child support order for their co-parent. States have quite a few child support enforcement options at their disposal, including garnishment of wages, revocation of professional licenses, and even jail time in some extreme cases. When support payments aren't made, it's assumed that the child(ren) and custodial parent suffer as a result, so it's taken very seriously.
Below is a summary of custodial parents' child support enforcement options.
Keep Child Support Payments Current
The best way to enforce child support is to make sure payments stay current. If possible, work with your co-parent and your state's child support enforcement office to set up a payment plan that works for everyone. Exactly what this payment plan might look like depends on the child support enforcement rules in your state.
Most states require that payments be sent to the child support agency, who will then forward the payment to the custodial payment. However, there may be a degree of flexibility when it comes to the frequency and amount of payments. A local family attorney will be able to advise you on the different possibilities offered in your state.
Once a payment schedule is set up, many states offer options for payments. Non-custodial parents may write a personal check, but some states offer automatic payments through a bank account or credit card. Some states will allow non-custodial parents to set up an automatic withdrawal from their paychecks even before the noncustodial parent falls into arrears. Additionally, if the non-custodial parent can no longer afford child support payments, they can seek a modification to their child support order.
When Child Support Payments Lapse
Unfortunately, some non-custodial parents fall behind on their child support payments. When this happens, the custodial parent has to go to court and begin an enforcement action. After proving that they're entitled to child support payments and didn't receive them, the court must the attempt to collect the back child support payments from the non-custodial parent. The court has several different child support enforcement options, including the following:
Explore Your Child Support Enforcement Options: Contact a Lawyer
When the court enters a child support order, it's no longer up for negotiation. If you're struggling to get your child's other parent to make timely support payments, you're not alone and there are a number of resources available to you. You can learn more about these resources and even retain a strong advocate by reaching out to a skilled child support attorney near you.