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How to Best Deal With a Deadbeat Parent

All parents are required to continue to financially support their children, whether or not they have custody of the child. However, it is an unfortunate reality that many children have parents who skip out on their obligations to pay their court-ordered child support.

If you have a former partner who cannot be counted on to make payments, you do have some steps you can take to enforce the order and get the money owed to you. The following are some actions you can take:

  • Garnishing wages: The custodial parent, child services departments or your attorney can request wages to be garnished (technically referred to as withholding income in some areas). In this scenario, money for child support is automatically withheld from the non-custodial parent’s wages and put directly toward that support obligation.
  • License consequences: A delinquent parent’s driver’s license could be suspended or revoked if he or she has frequent issues with failing to meet child support obligations.
  • Passport restrictions: A parent who does not meet child support obligations may be prevented from renewing his or her passport, meaning that person cannot leave the country for any reason.
  • Income tax intercepts: If the noncustodial parent is due a tax refund, the state can intercept portions (or all) of that refund to cover missing child support payments.
  • Contempt of court: If the parent continues to have issues meeting his or her child support obligations, they could be held in contempt of court, a legal order that can result in a fine or jail time. To obtain such an order, the custodial parent must go to court and officially seek one from a judge.
  • Request that payments be made through the Support Collection Unit: If you have payments collected through the support collection unit (or child support enforcement bureau), they can seek collection of the funds on your behalf and enforce same through the remedies set forth above. This is the suggested method of payment, particularly for those who have spouses that are delinquent.  Additionally, if you have payments through the support collection unit, you are entitled to cost of living adjustments (COLA).

For further guidance on how you can best enforce a child support agreement, consult a skilled family law attorney with Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia LLP.