Enforcement of Support Orders

Federal law requires all child support payments be made by wage assignment and health insurance by Health Insurance Orders. Child support collection statistics reflect that only 20% of noncustodial parents pay their court ordered child support monthly, As a result, numerous additional enforcement laws have been implemented in order to force compliance. Some of these are:

  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Professional license suspension
  • Federal & State tax refund intercepts
  • UIB/DIB intercepts
  • Property Liens
  • Bank account seizures

In addition, a noncustodial parent could go to jail for failure to pay his or her child support. Wanted posters are placed in public places showing the state’s most wanted deadbeats.

These are not pleasant things to deal with. It is best to not let yourself get into these situations. If you do find yourself in trouble, try to work out a repayment plan and make sure you stick with it. Another consequence of non-payment of child support is interest charges. This can make many arrears balances double or triple. A $5,000 arrears balance can become $10,000 if not paid for many years. Once the CSE agency catches up with a non-payor, most of the enforcement actions available by law are put in place and the noncustodial parent will find himself or herself in quite a lot of trouble.

Modifications are also done by CSE agencies, usually at the request of either parent. There are often changes in circumstances during the life of a child support order that warrant a review for possible modification by either parent. A change in the percentage of visitation, change in custody, loss of job, new higher paying job, illness, etc. can all effect how much child support should be paid. Therefore CSE agencies are obligated under federal law to perform a review for modification every three years or when a change in circumstances occurs. Government CSE agencies usually perform this service at no charge. Some may however, charge the noncustodial a "filing fee" when he or she has initiated the review.

The CSE agency will mail out forms requesting information from both parents. They will then review all the information to determine whether or not a modification (either up or down) is warranted. If a modification is warranted, the CSE agency will file the motion with the court to set a hearing date. Both parents should attend the hearing and be prepared to produce evidence documenting their financial situation. Parents can avoid a court hearing altogether by agreeing on a modified amount via the CSE agency and signing a stipulation voluntarily. This is the preferred method as going to court is a costly and time consuming experience for everyone.



Useful Online Tools

Custody, Visitation & Support Modification
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State Specific - Custody/Visitation/Support Modification Forms with Instructions
This software provides all the forms and instructions to modify child custody, visitation and/or child support through the court. The modification software will help you change your court orders to reflect current conditions.


Suggested Reading
Child Support Handbook
Child Support Handbooks
These download books will explain in detail how child support works in your state. It will focus on the rights each father, mother and child has under certain laws, situations, and circumstances, and how child support is calculated using the official state child support guidelines.

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END OF SUPPORT – Child support normally ends when the child achieves a majority, which is usually 18, marries, or can support herself or himself. At the least it continues through high school graduation, and in some jurisdictions, may continue through college.
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