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I provide experienced legal guidance in family law, divorce and special education law. I represent parents and families throughout western Massachusetts.

Actions to take against parent who owes child support

When co-parenting a child from separate households, it can definitely be a challenge. Coordinating schedules, long-term planning and a child's activities and after-school expenses can become a whirlwind for even the most organized parent. Somewhere in all of this, a primary custodial parent often receives child support from the child's other parent. However, occasionally, child support payments can become delinquent.

Whether or not the parent is just a few or many payments behind, this is unlawful under the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984. Court-ordered child support payments need to be received by the custodial parent by a certain time frame or the payee parent could face consequences. Actions that may be taken by the parent who has not received court-ordered child support vary. Actions taken by the court in response to unpaid child support payments could be as drastic as jail time.

However, most cases do not have such harsh punishments for the late-paying parent. Their wages could be garnished, tax funds could be withheld and their drivers license could even be revoked. These are all punishments that could be administered if a parent is consistently late with their child support payments. The court can take these steps at the request of the receiving parent if child support payments are in arrears.

A simple discussion could bring the delinquent parent's child support payments into current status. However, if the parents have had this discussion and there has been no change in payment status, many parents need resolution. It is not in a child's best interest to fail to receive the financial support they need. Court-ordered child support payments are a legally binding contract as outlined by the court of Massachusetts.

Source: FindLaw, "Enforcement of Child Support: FAQ's," Accessed September 11, 2016

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