If the non-custodial parent is refusing or just not paying court-ordered child support, let us help you get the support you need and the children deserve. The following describes some of the legal actions you can consider:
Get an Income Deduction Order.
An Income Deduction Order is one of the most effective way to collect child support. This orders the non-custodial parent’s employer to withhold the amount of child support from that parent’s paycheck. As of January 1, 1994, ALL child support orders MUST include a provision for wage withholding (taking child support from the non-custodial parent’s paycheck) unless there is a written agreement between the parents that provides differently. Orders that don’t contain this provision can be modified to include a wage withholding provision. You can ask the court for this change in a regular modification proceeding or in a contempt proceeding. However, in order to do so, the non-custodial parent must be behind in child support payments for more than the amount of one month’s support.
File a Contempt Action in Court.
A parent who is behind in child support is in contempt of the court order. A court can order him/her to pay what is owed and can even order incarceration if he/she continues to fail to pay. The Court can also order that the parent failing to pay support be required to pay not only the past due child support, but also the legal fees and costs you had to pay to file the contempt action.
File a Garnishment.
If the non-custodial parent is at least 30 days behind in the amount of support he or she owes, you can file a garnishment. You can garnish bank accounts, Social Security benefits and tax refunds. If you know the name of the employer of the non-custodial parent and the approximate date of any work injury of the absent parent, you can call the Workers Compensation Board and get the name and address of the insurance company. You can then file a garnishment against the insurance company. However, keep in mind that SSI and TANF cannot be garnished.
Get a Lien or Levy Assets.
If the non-custodial parent owns real or personal property, you can get a lien on land or a house or a levy on a car or other personal property. A lien is a claim you have on someone’s personal property, such as a car, boat, television, etc., or a claim you have on someone’s real property, such as a house or land, for payment of a debt, such as child support. When a lien is placed on real or personal property, the lien must be paid off before the non-custodial parent can sell the property. To levy is to take personal property in payment of a legal claim.
File a Writ of Fieri Facias (Fi Fa).
Another way to enforce a child support order is to get a fi. fa. (a writ of fieri facias). You can get a fi. fa. form from the clerk of the court who issued the order. You can then file the fi. fa. and record it on the general execution docket of the superior court of any county in the state in which you have reason to believe that the non-custodial parent may own real estate (house and/or land). A recorded fi. fa. is used to place a lien on property (real estate or automobile) and allows a law enforcement officer to levy on other personal property.
Request that a Court Deny or Suspend the Other Parent’s License.
If the non-custodial parent is 60 days behind on child support but has the ability to pay, the court can deny or suspend his or her driver’s license, professional license, hunting or fishing license.