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What steps are taken for child support enforcement?

There are many difficult decisions divorcing parents in Missouri and elsewhere must make. And even when custody and child support orders are agreed to and in place, this does not always mean that parents will not have to re-visit these matters. They may, at times, just have to demand that the rules be followed. In fact, if a parent fails to keep up with child support payments, the other parent has legal steps afforded to them to help them enforce a child support order.

What steps are taken for child support enforcement? Under the Child Support Enforcement act of 1984, district attorneys or state attorneys are required to help parents collect child support if they are not being paid. Federal laws provide for certain actions to take place to recover delinquent child support payments. This includes the interception of tax refunds, wage attachments, seizing property and even evoking the paying parent's driver's license.

When it is determined that a payer parent is behind in child support payments, he or she is considered to be in arrears. While this could provide the payer with the ability to ask a judge to reduce his or her child support payments, this does not reduce the amount that is in arrears.

It should be noted that filing for bankruptcy does not eliminate debt caused by child support or erase these obligations. And if a parent is delinquent, whether it is due to financial problems or just their unwillingness to uphold the terms of the order, a recipient parent could seek enforcement through wage garnishment.

Obtaining and maintaining child support payments is an important divorce issue to address. These funds provide for the financial needs of the child and focuses on the best interests of the children. If a parent is no longer able to meet the obligations of a current order, it is important to understand that he or he could seek modification if a substantial change in circumstances occurred. This could help the parent avoid penalties, disputes and other issues with the recipient spouse who is seeking to enforce the order.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Child Support Enforcement," accessed May 6, 2017

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Joseph J. Porzenski
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