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Enforcing Child Support Orders

Enforcing Child Support Orders

Typically every county in every major city in the USA has an office for Child Support Enforcement (CSE) under the Division of Social Services. The CSE has the authority to enforce child support obligations of a parent that was reached under a divorce settlement, voluntary agreement, or civil paternity lawsuit. There are several actions that the CSE can implement for child support enforcement, such as reporting a parent’s support obligation to credit bureaus, requesting revocation of a driver’s license, placing a lien on the parent’s property, and bringing court action to put a parent in jail for not paying child support.The CSE main’s responsibility is to assist in child support collection and this is usually done withholding a parent’s income or earnings. The state sends a notice to the parent’s employer, ordering the employer to withhold a certain amount of pay from the parent’s earnings for child support purposes. The employer sends the withheld amount to the CSE typically within seven days. Other sources of income can also be withheld, including an individual’s social security, unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation grant, and retirement or veteran’s benefits. Typically the CSE also has the authority to intercept the parent’s federal or state refund. However, there are certain types of income are often exempt from withholding, such as federal death benefits, Supplemental Security income, payments for Veterans’ educational assistance, and certain allowances for civilians who work on military posts.Simply failing to pay child support does not mean that a delinquent parent can automatically be arrested. Enforcement action isn’t usually imposed until the child support payment is 30 days delinquent and when the unpaid amount exceeds one month’s obligation. Upon the implementation of enforcement action, the court serves an order requiring the parent to explain the reasons for delinquency before a judge. The judge may then hold a parent in contempt and may be penalized with a jail term. A judge may also simply require an unemployed parent to get a job and report back to the court.Other enforcement actions that the CSE may take (at least in North Carolina) include passport revocation if the unpaid amount is more than $2,500, a lien on the parent’s property if the support is not paid more than three months or if it amounts to $3,000, a levy on the parent’s bank accounts if the individual is more than six months delinquent or if more than $1,000 is owed. A driver’s or professional license may also be revoked if the parent is more than 90 days behind on payments.

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