The following is a checklist of techniques for the collection of past-due child support:
Wage withholding orders. These are entered by a court and served on the employer of the parent who owes support. (The person who owes support is called the “obligor.”) The employer sends payments to the government, sending support payments to the parent to whom support is owed.
Tax refund intercepts. The government sends a notice to the Internal Revenue Service or the state department of revenue, directing that the obligor’s tax refund be sent to the government to pay support.
Liens on property. A lien can be placed on the real estate, automobile, or other property of the obligor. If support is not paid, the property can be confiscated and sold. Alternatively, the lien may stay on the property until it is sold by the obligor, at which point the debt must be paid before the obligor receives any proceeds from the sale.
Contempt of court. The person to whom support is due or the government can ask a court to hold the obligor in contempt of court for willful failure to pay support. If found guilty of contempt of court, the obligor can be jailed, fined, or both.
Collection agencies. Some collection agencies are willing to help collect past-due support, just as they collect past-due commercial debts. Collection agencies usually charge a portion of the amount collected.
Revocation of licenses. About twenty states will revoke the driver’s license or professional licenses of persons who have not paid child support.
Interstate collections. In addition to the remedies lust listed, state and federal statutes are available to facilitate enforcement of support orders when the obligor and the person to whom support is due life in different states. State and federal prosecutors can help with interstate collections.
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