When two parents are no longer together, they are still legally obligated to support their children. Even if the parents were never married, the law requires the parents provide for their offspring. In the majority of separated relationships, the mother will be deemed the custodial parent and the father will be deemed the noncustodial parent. Generally, the court considers the nature of being the custodial parent as sufficient child support. However, the noncustodial parent may need to compensate for their portion of support by making monthly payments to the custodial parent.
In 2012, there was over 100 billion dollars owed in unpaid child support. It is not uncommon for the noncustodial parent to be late on payments; if the parent even pays at all. But what are the options for the custodial parent to collect? How can the government help ensure the custodial parent receives the child support?
The government maintains databases that record and organize child support systems. The database is shared on a federal level between states in order to track parents who may have moved from their original residence and are late on payments. Information is reported to the database through a few different facets. For example, employers are required to report new employees to the database. If the new hire is recorded in the database as being behind on child support payments, the government may arrange an income withholding order where the employer removes a portion of the paycheck to be used for child support.
In some instances, the government may automatically withhold income tax refunds for child support from the non custodial parent, should they refuse to pay. Generally, the custodial parent may report the back payments to the state’s child support enforcement agency; if the noncustodial parent is $500 or more behind payments, the government may withhold all or some of the tax refund,
Under some circumstances, the government can even suspend the noncustodial parent’s driver’s license. They may deny passport renewal, driver’s license renewal, or a professional license renewal (pharmacist, doctor, etc..) for parents $2500 or more behind on payments.
The government has many ways of enforcing child support payments. It is in your best interest to know the laws regarding your situation should you be late on making or receiving child support payments. Contact a Bloomington family lawyer if you have questions regarding your child support payments. Attorneys should be well versed in their state and local laws on collecting or developing child support plans.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Pioletti & Pioletti for their insight into family law.