In any custody case, either divorce or paternity, where there are minor children, generally the non-custodial parent is ordered to pay a weekly child support amount (there may be some rare circumstances where the custodial parent pays, or no child support is ordered). However, what happens after the court order is issued, and the parent obligated to pay STILL does not pay? These are 5 common tools used to collect child support.
File a contempt action for non-payment. This often results in a court order to pay extra each week towards the arrearage, and some other sanctions, as the court deems necessary (such as paying the recipient parent’s attorney fees).
2. Tax interception.
If there is a child support arrearage, and the non-paying (but obligated) parent files his or her taxes, and receives a refund, the state can intercept the tax return and provide it to the custodial parent towards payment of the arrearage (as reflected by the child support docket tracked by the court).
3. Driver’s License Suspension and Professional License Suspension.
Indiana law provides that if the parent ordered to pay support is found by a court to have intentionally violated the support order, and is delinquent in their support payments, the court shall order the BMV1 to suspend that parent’s driver’s license, or if that parent does not have a license, then to not issue one, until the court orders otherwise.2 Indiana law defines “delinquent” as, at least $2,000 or more in arrearages, or 3 months or more of nonpayment.3 The same applies to professional licenses, such as attorneys, doctors, dentists, chiropractors, CPAs, etc.4
4. URESA (Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement Act):
If one of the parents has moved to another state, the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement Act applies certain procedures and provisions for registering another state’s child support order with the new state, and asking the new state to enforce same.
5. Criminal charges if so far behind.
If child support is so far behind, the obligated parenting may have state or federal criminal charges filed against him or her. In Indiana, it is a class D felony to willingly not support one’s child, and the crime rises to a class C felony if the amount is over $15,000.5 For an obligated parent to be charged federally, the parent must be in willful violation of a child support order issued by another state (i.e. not the state the obligated parent is currently residing in) and the child support must be either 1 year or $5,000, or 2 years or $10,000 in arrears.6
We hope that you have found this information to be helpful in understanding alternative methods of collecting child support. This is not intended to be legal advice. If you have questions or concerns about your specific case, CIYOU & DIXON, P.C. can help evaluate your specific case. This blog post was written by Attorney, Lori B. Schmeltzer.