Unpaid Child Support
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According to the United States Census Bureau's statistics on child support,
- 50 percent of the parents entitled to receive child support never get the full amount that is due
- About 25 percent of parents only receive partial payments
- and the other 25 percent receive no support at all.
However, it is important to know that federal and state laws are designed to help enforce child support payments at little or no cost to you. There are a number of different ways for dealing with unpaid child support including:
- Wage deduction orders – In 1994, the law required all new child support orders to be automatically deducted from the payer's wages. Most commonly, an employer will receive a deduction notice from the court and must send a portion of the parent's hourly wages or salary to a state agency, which will send the money to the custodial parent. However, wage deduction is not so effective in collecting child support if the payer regularly changes employment or is self-employed.
- Tax refund interceptions – Intercepting state and federal tax refunds is another way to handle unpaid child support. This is a useful technique if the parent has a large tax refund due, but is usually helpful for only one year since the payer may adjust deductions to ensure minimal tax refunds in the future.
- Liens on property – A state can put a lien on a payer's property including real estate, automobile, etc. to obtain unpaid child support. The property can be seized or sold to reimburse the custodial parent.
- License Revocation – In some states, if a parent does not pay the amount of child support that is due, they risk the revocation of their driver's licenses and/or professional license.
- Contempt of court – As a last resort, a court can hold a payer in contempt of court as a penalty for unpaid child support, which can result in jail time, fines, or both. This technique is minimally exercised since most judges would prefer to keep the payer out of jail so they can earn the income to pay the child support.
- Uniform Interstate Family Support Act – Essentially, this law gives courts in the custodial parent's state and in the payer's state the right to enforce child support orders.
- Child Support Recovery Act – This law, passed in 1992, makes it a federal crime to intentionally refuse to pay child support to the custodial parent in another state if the amount has been unpaid for more than one year or if it exceeds $5,000. Punishments can include large fines and up to two years in prison.
If you are not receiving the support amount you are entitled to, a qualified family law attorney may be able to help you collect unpaid child support and ensure your legal rights are fully protected. Please contact us today to speak with an experienced attorney free of charge .
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