Enforcing Child Support Orders: Dealing With a Deadbeat Parent

Establishing Child Support

You must first get a court order to establish child support - this can be done in conjunction with a dissolution of marriage or if the parents are not married through a paternity action. A judge must approve your agreement and turn it into an official court order.

Enforcing Child Support And Collection of Back Child Support

Once established, a child support order must be obeyed. If not, custodial parents may ask an the Court or their Office of Child Support Enforcement for help. A delinquent parent may be subject to any, or all, of the following enforcement tools:

  • Wage Deductions - the custodial parent, his or her attorney, or OCSS can request an income withholding order or wage assignment. With a wage deduction, child support is taken directly out of the non-custodial (paying) parent's wages.
  • Federal Income Tax Intercepts - the state can intercept a large tax refund to cover late or missing child support payments.
  • License Suspensions and Revocations - a delinquent parent's driver's license(s) and/or professional license(s) may be revoked.
  • Passport Restrictions - a parent that fails to pay child support may be prevented from renewing his or her passport (and therefore prevented from leaving the country).
  • Contempt of Court - this is a legal order that may result in a fine or jail time for the parent who failed to make court-ordered support payments. However, the custodial parent (or his or her attorney) must go to court to obtain this order from a judge.

Getting Help

You can talk to an experienced family law attorney Carmelina Marin for help enforcing your child support order.