When your ex fails to pay the full amount of child support due, it's important to report the issue to the court as soon as possible. You can also turn to your local district attorney's office for help with enforcing your child support orders.
The Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984 empowers district attorneys to assist parents who are owed child support. The district attorney will serve the delinquent parent with legal papers to arrange a payment plan.
The delinquent parent could be threatened with jail time
The child support papers that the delinquent parent receives may issue the threat of jail time if he or she fails to meet the payment obligations. The problem is, sending a delinquent parent to jail is not very productive in terms of getting the other parent paid. In jail, the delinquent parent won't be able to earn an income to pay the child support. As such, district attorneys generally reserve jail time as a last resort punishment.
Here are some other strategies district attorneys employ to enforce a child support order:
- Withholding money from federal tax refunds to pay back child support owed
- Wage garnishment
- Seizure of personal property
- Suspension of a parent's professional licenses
- Suspension of a parent's business licenses
- Revocation of a driver's license
- Denying to issue a passport to the delinquent parent in cases where the parent owes over $2,500
The National Child Support Enforcement Association
The National Child Support Enforcement Association has created a list of agencies that can help parents who haven't received their child support money. These agencies offer the information, guidance and assistance that can be invaluable in these cases.
If you're a parent who hasn't received the child support money you're owed, the most important thing to remember is this: The law is on your side. Don't give up in your fight to hold the other parent of your child legally accountable for the money he or she owes your child. Your child's quality of life could be on the line, and nothing is more important that protecting that.