If your divorce agreement requires you to pay court-ordered child support, there are federal and state laws in place that ensure that these payments are made regularly and on time. The legal term for a parent failing to meet their child support payment responsibilities is “in arrears” and the back child support is called “arrearages.” The Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984 allows district attorneys and state attorney generals to collect back child support for the custodial parent and take enforcement measures against the non-paying parent. If you owe back child support payments, an experienced divorce lawyer can help.
What Enforcement Tools Are Used to Collect Back Child Support Payments?
If you have fallen behind on your court-ordered child support payments, there are a range of enforcement tools that may be used to ensure that payments are made. The following are examples of some of the most common enforcement tools:
- The court may order your employer to withhold wages and send it to the government to repay back child support payments.
- Your bank accounts may be frozen, preventing you from being able to access money until you have repaid your child support obligations.
- A lien may be placed against your property. If the home is sold, the lien must be paid before you can collect any funds from the sale of the home.
- Your delinquent payments may be reported to credit bureaus, which can damage your credit rating.
- If you have not made your court-ordered child support payments for six months or more, your driver’s license, as well as other professional, occupational, recreational, or sporting licenses may be revoked.
- In extreme cases, a judge may issue a contempt order, in which case you could face jail time. This option is a last resort, since you would be unable to make child support payments if you are in jail.
What If I Am Unable to Make the Court-Ordered Child Support Payments?
If you lose your job or suffer an injury or health complication that make it difficult for you to meet your child support obligations, you must file a motion with the court requesting a modification of child support. The request for modification must be sent to the same court that granted the original child support order. Sometimes both parents cannot reach an agreement on the proposed modification. If this is the case, you must request a hearing in front of a judge, at which time you and your former spouse will have the opportunity to make arguments about your proposed modification of child support.
Will I Be Required to Make Retroactive Child Support Payments?
Retroactive child support refers to child support payments for a period of time before the child support petition was filed. Retroactive child support is generally not allowed in the state of New Jersey unless there is an outstanding motion for child support or child support modification is pending. If this is the case, you will only be required to pay the retroactive child support from the date that the motion was either filed or mailed. If your former spouse is seeking retroactive child support, a divorce lawyer can help you navigate the child support process.
Whitehouse Station Divorce Lawyers at Tune Law Group, LLC Assist Clients with Child Support Matters
If you owe back child support, it is highly recommended that you contact the Whitehouse Station divorce lawyers at Tune Law Group, LLC at your earliest convenience. To schedule an initial consultation, call us today at 908-434-1061 or contact us online. Our office is located in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, where we serve clients in and around Tewksbury, Hunterdon County, Monmouth County, Morris County, and Warren County.