Parents with troubles collecting child support may have options

| Dec 6, 2013 | Child Support |

Both parents seeking to collect child support as well as those that may be experiencing difficulty paying child support may consider seeking help through the legal system.

In one year in the U.S., $14 billion in child support went unpaid. The Census Bureau recently announced that one out of every three dollars in child support that was due went unpaid in a single year. A report based on the Current Population Survey revealed that fewer than half of the parents who are eligible to receive child support end up receiving all the support that is due. A quarter of eligible parents receive none of the child support the parents are eligible to receive at all.

Most of the child support was awarded through formal child support agreements through the court and governments. Fewer parents, however, are seeking the government’s assistance collecting child support. From 1994 to 2012, the number of parents seeking help collecting child support from the government fell by a quarter. The number of parents failing to receive all the support the parents were eligible for, however, changed little. Experts say that poorer and single women may view the child support collection system as complex and may not be accessing it. Younger, less educated, parents were less likely to receive the full amount of support owed while some parents were utilizing alternative arrangements.

According to the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984, district attorneys must assist parents in the collection of child support that the parent is eligible to receive. Parents who fail to pay child support can face serious penalties. Penalties can include the withholding of federal tax refunds; wage garnishment; suspension or revocation of a business, occupational or driver’s license; the refusal of a passport; or even jail time in extreme circumstances. Rather than missing monthly payments which leads to the problem of delinquent payments, parents facing difficulty meeting child support obligations may also have legal recourse.

A child support modification request can be made on behalf of a parent that is struggling to make child support monthly payments, just as the legal system can aid a parent seeking to collect child support. A family law attorney can assist a parent in either circumstance to evaluate the situation and help achieve a resolution that is best for the parent and any children involved.

Source: The Los Angeles Time, “Billions of dollars in child support go unpaid yearly,” Emily Alpert Reyes, Nov. 20, 2013

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