The loss of a job, an unexpected injury or illness, and any other number of factors may cause you to fall behind on child support, even though you want to provide for your child. As a consequence of failing to make your court-ordered payments, however, the state’s Office of Child Support Enforcement may take various actions against you.
To help protect yourself and ensure you can provide for your child, it behooves you to understand the state’s child support enforcement options.
According to state law, the Office of Child Support Enforcement may initiate income withholding orders to compel payment of your child support obligation. Such an order directs your employer to deduct a specified amount from your paycheck. Your employer then forwards the deducted funds to the state to apply to your owed balance, regular payments or both.
Tax refund offset
Once a year, the office submits qualifying cases for state and federal income tax refund offsets. As such, the state may intercept all or a portion of the funds you would receive and apply them toward your arrears.
If you have the ability to make your court-ordered payments but still owe back support, the office may seek a civil contempt citation against you. Such action may have serious implications, which may include, for example, an order for incarceration and to pay the amount owed, as well as possible fines or fees associated with processing the case.
Failing to pay child support affects not only you but also your child and his or her other parent. However, options exist if you struggle to meet this financial obligation to modify your support agreements.