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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.

How is child support enforced?

As many Massachusetts parents know, child support can be an ongoing battle. Even after the initial amount is agreed upon, parents may still find themselves in a situation in which it is difficult to either continue paying the set amount, or get the other spouse to honor their end of the deal. When a spouse refuses to pay child support, life can become difficult for the custodial parent. Thankfully, there are options available.

Thanks to the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984, there are a number of ways in which a divorced parent can enforce a child support order. In these instances, an attorney will serve the other parent papers. The papers threaten jail time if the noncustodial parent fails to follow instructions. However, jail time is not an ideal situation. If the noncustodial parent is in jail, then there is no way he or she will be able to earn money to pay child support.

Instead of jail, there are other consequences that an attorney may place on an unpaying parent. These include the seizure of property, the garnishment of wages, the withholding of federal tax refunds, the suspension of an occupational or business license, as well as the revoking of a driver's license. Parents who refuse to pay child support may also be denied a passport. If none of these measures prove successful, then jail time may be necessary.

Sometimes it can be difficult to obtain the child support payments parents need to provide adequate care for their children. Thankfully, there are attorneys available who know how to enforce a child support order. With help, it is often possible to get a parent to make child support payments in the amount that was agreed upon.

Source: FindLaw, "Enforcement of Child Support: FAQ's," accessed Nov. 12, 2015

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Claudette-Jean Girard, Attorney at Law
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