A parent who has been ordered to pay child support may not always come through. If you are a custodial parent whose former partner has failed to make child support payments, you have experienced this firsthand. It can be incredibly frustrating, not to mention financially damaging for you and your child. So, is there any way for the court to force someone to pay child support?
Fortunately, there are several tools that a court can use to get a non-custodial parent to pay child support. If your child’s other parent has consistently failed to make payments, it may be time to approach the court system. These are some of the ways that the court can enforce child support payments.
Sending a notice
The first step that a court will take is to serve the non-custodial parent with a legal order. This is a document informing them of their delinquency and instructing them to send their child support payments in full and on time. If your partner does not respond to the notice, the court will move on to more drastic measures.
Withholding tax returns
One of the most common ways that a court will enforce child support payments is by withholding the non-custodial parent’s tax return. The court will then order the money from the tax return to be put toward child support.
A court can also choose to garnish someone’s wages. This means that a certain amount of money will be automatically removed from your partner’s paycheck and put toward their payments. The court can choose to garnish up to 60 percent of someone’s disposable earnings.
Suspending a license
If your spouse has a driver’s license, an occupational license or a professional license, the court can revoke it as a consequence for delinquent child support payments. This is generally a step that the court will only resort to if other measures like a legal notice or wage garnishment have not been effective.
In rare, extreme cases, it is possible for the state to send someone to jail for failing to pay child support. Jailing someone for delinquent payments can be counterproductive, since it is difficult to earn money for child support while incarcerated. Still, the threat of jail time can be a strong motivator for some parents who refuse to support their children.