Both parents need to support their children, and most states have a set statutory formula set to set the child support obligations. A family law attorney can show a prospective client the state-specific formula. Most state statutes base child support obligations on the parents’ income, the age and number of children, and whether any of the children have special needs. Also, a common misunderstood concept is that child support obligations is independent of visitation rights of the noncustodial parent. Finally, child support payments continue until the child turns 18, gets married, or dies.
To enforce child support, a petition is filed in court. A family law attorney likely has filed several court petitions, which allows for various options to collect child support, including criminal contempt, civil contempt, and other methods:
- Criminal contempt can be used to sentence the person who willfully refuses to pay child support obligations.
- Civil contempt can be used to enforce a court order by requiring the obligor to be incarcerated or pay the support.
- Income tax refund proceeds can garnished by the state if the obligor owes $500 or more.
- The Child Support Recovery Act makes it a federal crime for a person owing more than 1 year in arrearages or $5,000 in back pay and refuses to pay.
- Drivers licenses and professional state license renewals may be contingent upon payment of child support.
- Wages can be garnished by mandating that the employer to pay the ourt clerk an amount deducted from the person's pay check
These are six available options to enforce child support. For a parent who needs help enforcing the payment of child support should contact a family law lawyer.