Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Child support enforcement options for failure to pay

This blog recently discussed options for parents to consider through the family law system if they need to seek a child support modification. Child support enforcement measures are designed to help parents seeking to enforce a child support order obtain the court-ordered child support they should be receiving. It is important not to ignore a valid child support order and to seek family law resources when a child support modification may be needed. Otherwise the parent who has failed to pay child support can face serious consequences and penalties.

Potential penalties and consequences for failure to pay child support include wage garnishment; seizure of property; withholding of federal tax refunds; suspending a business or occupational license; driver's license revocation; and the denial of a passport. In addition, though it is reserved for extreme circumstances, jail time is also possible as a potential penalty for failure to pay child support.

Child support enforcement measures should not be taken lightly and are designed to ensure children receive the support they need and that parents are required to pay. When a parent has lost a job or in some other circumstances, it may be possible to modify a child support order but the parent seeking to modify the child support order must go to the family law court to request the change. In general, based on a significant change in the child's or parent's circumstances, a modification may be granted.

Simply ignoring a valid child support order risks enforcement measures which is why parents should be familiar with the family law resources to help them address their concerns. Knowing how to utilize these resources is helpful so that families can resolve their concerns in as positive and peaceful a manner as possible.

Source:, "Enforcement of Child Support: FAQ's," Accessed Sept. 18, 2017

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