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Delinquent child support payments

According to the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, over $100 billion in back child support is owed by noncustodial parents in North Carolina and around the country. One problem is that if a parent owes child support but lacks any assets or other means to pay, there are not many methods to try to force payment. However, there are some ways to deal with the nonpaying parent that may seem counterintuitive but may result in payment progress.

It is recommended that custodial parents keep the delinquent parent involved in the children's lives. This may run counter to a wish for having the nonpaying party thrown in jail, but prison wages are hardly worth garnishing. In addition, an involved parent is more likely to feel that he or she wants to pay support since there is a connection with the child outside of mere financial obligation. Even if the parent behind on child support is unable to pay immediately, this involvement may lead to payments when it is financially possible to make them.

Many advisers suggest that a parent not count upon the timely receipt of child support when making regular budget plans. Otherwise, if a payment is late or not made, it won't be as much of a financial disruption. Payments that are finally received can then be used for items that the children want or need.

Legal methods to recover delinquent support amounts can include wage garnishments and bank account attachments, assuming that the nonpaying parent has these types of assets available. Courts can also order the seizure of income tax refunds and the forfeiture of drivers' or professional licenses.

Source: Money Personal Finance, "What to Do When Your Ex Won’t (or Can’t) Pay Child Support", Geoff Williams, November 20, 2013

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