The Legislature has strengthened and simplified the methods for enforcing child support orders. Many of these methods can be used to collect overdue spousal maintenance also owed to you. In addition, the CSEU may be able to help locate a non-paying parent, collect payments from a parent living in another state, or establish paternity so custodial parents become eligible to collect support.
If you are having trouble collecting child support, you should call the CSEU or an attorney. Most CSEU services are free and available, whether or not you receive public assistance.
To ensure that custodial parents receive support with less risk of default and delay, all new or newly modified child support orders require that payments be immediately withheld from the wages or other income of the obligated parent, unless other arrangements have been made by the parties. Unfortunately, for old orders, it is usually necessary to wait for missed payments before the obligated parent's income can be withheld for child support payments. If the obligated parent misses three payments, a private attorney or the CSEU may send a notice requiring an employer to deduct past-due support and future support from the person's paycheck. This method of enforcement may also be used if the obligated parent refuses to pay medical support.
Tax Refund and Lottery Interception
The CSEU can intercept a parent's federal and/or state income tax refund checks as well as lottery winnings of $600 or more for failing to pay child support.
If support is four or more months late, the CSEU can suspend the driver's license of the parent. The court can also suspend professional, business and recreational licenses of the obligated parent.
Notifying Credit Bureaus
If the obligated parent has failed to pay $1,000 or two months in support, the CSEU can notify the major credit rating agencies to prevent extension of credit.
Making the Obligated Parent Post a Bond
If the custodial parent convinces the court that other enforcement methods will not work, the court can order the obligated parent to deposit a sum of money, or bond, with the CSEU or a private attorney. Then support payments can be deducted from the money whenever there is a default.
Getting a Money Judgement
If the custodial parent keeps accurate records of the amount owed, the courts can issue a money judgement. A judgement is very important because without it, there could be a problem collecting support. It's good for 20 years, and even if the parent doesn't have any money when it is issued, it can still be enforced if he or she has money in the future.
Seizing Assets or Placing Property Liens
The CSEU can freeze the obligated parent's bank account, IRA, or other financial assets and seize the amount of money owed. The CSEU can also place a lien on real estate or personal property, like cars or boats, after four months of failing to pay support.
A court can impose a jail sentence for willful refusal to pay if they believe no other method of enforcement will be effective.