Child support is something many single parents rely on to help care for and raise their children. Considering these payments help pay for expenses such as clothing, medical bills, and school tuitions, being owed back child support can carry great consequences for both the parent, and more importantly, the child. When this occurs, it is important to know the details of child support rights and begin the process of recouping late or non-payments.
Child support enforcement agencies are commonplace in all 50 US states as well as the District of Columbia. Many government entities carry strict laws regarding support payment. If the guidelines set in place for child support are not followed strictly, there is potential for devastating consequences. “Deadbeat parents,” or non-custodial parents who do not make their support payments, are not looked upon fondly by government agencies or their regulations.
Although each state has different guidelines for handling delinquent payments, the procedures for recouping funds are generally the same. The Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984 has granted both district and state attorneys the right to work on behalf of parents to collect any back child support. If the non-custodial parent refuses to comply, they become subject to penalties such as wage garnishments, frozen bank accounts, property liens, and jail time.
Sometimes child support disputes will extend across state lines. When this occurs, the state in which the delinquent parent resides must yield to the regulations in which the claim has been filed, traditionally the state in which the custodial parent lives. Additionally, any modifications to the child support order must be approved by the state in which the claim was filed. For help with enforcement, a lawyer specializing in child support can be a great asset.
In the case of financial duress or even bankruptcy, the non-custodial parent will still be responsible for any back child support payments. Although the parent will still be accountable for the payments, an official request for modification can be filed outlining all financial burdens. If the modification request is not filed, however, non-custodial parent could automatically be found delinquent and begin to see the consequences soon after.
Even though there are many safeguards in place to help recoup back child support, federal and state laws regarding this matter can be hard to understand. Consulting with a lawyer for child support will help custodial parents better understand their rights as well as begin the process of receiving late or non-payments.
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