If you have a child support order in place, and you are the custodial parent, then this is likely a very important aspect of your family law concerns. You need the money to ensure that your child has the best care that you and the other parent can provide. If you are not getting the child support that you are supposed to receive, then this can have a tremendous financial impact on your life and your ability to provide for even the most basic needs of your child or children. If nothing else, providing for those basic needs may be all that you can do, and your children may miss out on opportunities to be involved in sports, music, or other programs that they could otherwise enjoy and benefit from.
It is here that you will need to know what you can do to have the child support order enforced. And it is here that you will find an excellent resource in a North Carolina family law attorney like those you can contact at Remington & Dixon, PLLC. Here, we’ll discuss the resources and tools available to you, and we are happy to schedule a free consultation to further discuss the details.
What Resources and Tools Are Available to Enforce Child Support Orders?
To ensure that your child support order is enforced, you can do more than talk to an attorney. While an attorney can help you make use of the resources and tools available, it helps to know what they are. For example, one very popular and effective option is to turn to the child support enforcement programs and agencies in your county, and to seek assistance from the Department of Health and Human Services. Yet, these are not your only available options.
You can also seek child support enforcement through the interception of an income tax return. If the other parent is unemployed, then you can seek child support from their unemployment income. If they have suffered from a disabling injury and are on disability, then you can recover child support payments from this source of income. If none of these apply, and the other parent is working, then wage garnishment is a common method of recovering child support. Another option is to have money from a bank account seized for the purpose of paying support.
These are the most common ways of actually obtaining support from the income or financial resources of the other parent. Yet, there are also ways to encourage or force the other parent to pay the ordered support when these methods are not accessible. For instance, the other parent’s passport could be restricted or their driver’s license could be suspended or revoked. Because refusing to pay child support is in direct violation of a court order, the other parent could also be held in contempt of court and forced to pay fines or spend time in jail if they do not come up with the money.
In the most extreme circumstances, where the other parent owes greater than five thousand dollars in child support and/or when the other parent goes longer than one year without paying, then federal government agencies may get involved with even more severe penalties. This also applies if the parent who owes support leaves the state to avoid the enforcement resources of North Carolina family law. The associated penalties, when this happens, can include six months to two years in prison, depending on how long the offender has not paid support and can also include steep fines, as much as $250K.
What If You Are the Parent Who Cannot Afford Your Child Support Payments?
It is wise for anyone dealing with child support issues to discuss this with a North Carolina family law attorney, and this is especially true if you are the parent who is ordered to pay and you cannot afford to make those payments. Your lawyer may be able to help you to modify the support order to something more affordable, based on your income and the associated calculations for support. This is usually applicable when your income has changed. If you do not take the necessary steps to address the situation – as many people are tempted to ignore these pressing concerns when they feel that there is nothing they can do – then you can end up facing the serious penalties mentioned above.
Whether you are seeking to enforce a child support order or if you can’t afford your child support and need to modify the order, contact the determined North Carolina family law attorneys at Remington & Dixon, PLLC for a free consultation.
Jennifer is a founding partner at Remington & Dixon, PLLC. Jennifer concentrates her practice in the areas of family law, wills & estates, unemployment benefits appeals, and traffic. At Elon University School of Law, Jennifer was the vice president of the Public Interest Law Society and a member of the Family Law Society. During law school, Jennifer interned at the Elon University School of Law Field Placement Clinic with Legal Aid of North Carolina where she represented clients in domestic violence court proceedings.