Child Support Enforcement: Steps to Take for Unpaid or Late Payments

When you have an order for the payment of child support, and your child’s other parent is late or simply does not pay child support, North Carolina law offers several options for you to try to collect the unpaid support. This blog will discuss child support enforcement and steps to take for unpaid or late payments.

There are many laws that control collection efforts and protect debtors, even those who owe child support, so you will want to work with North Carolina child support attorneys to make sure that the actions taken comply with the law.

Income Withholding

If the other parent is employed, you might be able to get an income withholding ordered by the court. The obligated parent’s boss will receive an order that tells them how much to deduct each month from the parent’s paychecks. The deducted money gets sent to the state, which then sends the custodial parent a check. 

Initially, this method takes some time to get started, but once the process goes through one cycle, it is on time unless the noncustodial parent leaves that job or the employer stops withholding for another reason. Most custodial parents find this method of collection worth the initial wait because wage withholding is such an effective means for collecting child support.

Interception of Tax Refunds

The state can intercept the noncustodial parent’s state and federal tax refunds for non-payment of child support. The custodial parent would then receive the intercepted funds.

Withholding of Benefits

Some government benefits can be subject to withholding for delinquent child support. For example, it is possible to have a portion taken out of a noncustodial parent’s Social Security benefits, veteran’s disability benefits, worker’s compensation benefits, and unemployment benefits for child support. This would work similarly to a wage withholding, in that a specific amount would get deducted from each check and sent to the custodial parent.

Court Actions

Some people fall into exceptions, so the methods of collection we have already talked about are not effective. The noncustodial parent might quit a job as soon as the custodial parent discovers the new job and initiates a wage withholding.

If your child’s other parent is delinquent in the payment of child support, your lawyer might suggest filing a Motion for Contempt in the court that ordered the payment of support. If the judge finds that the noncustodial parent did not have a compelling reason for not supporting their child, the judge could find the parent in contempt of court and throw them in jail. They might have to come current on their support payments before they can get released.

Reporting to the Credit Bureaus

Being delinquent on court-ordered child support payments can lower a person’s credit score, which is why many people have the delinquency reported to the credit bureaus. There are strict rules about using this strategy, so you will want a lawyer to guide you through this step.

Filing Claims Against Real or Personal Property Owned by the Parent with the Child Support Obligation 

You might be able to garnish the noncustodial parent’s bank accounts or sell their boat, RV, car, or other assets to satisfy a significant child support obligation delinquency. You can get the guidance you need from North Carolina family law attorneys when attempting to collect unpaid child support. For help with your case reach out to our office today, we offer a free consultation.