The Failure to Pay Child Support: A Nationwide Crisis

16859-iStock_000010439302XSmallObtaining an order requiring the payment of child support is only half the battle; actually collecting child support is entirely another story. details that:

According to the latest comprehensive child support numbers from the US Census Bureau, only 41.2 percent of custodial parents receive the full amount of support owed them by their ex-spouses.

This astounding statistic means that more than half of the parents awarded child support will either not be paid any child support or will be shortchanged. While some can point to a weakened economy and a high unemployment rate as a possible explanation for the high default rate, the problem of deadbeat parents has been ever present.

Collecting support from the self employed has always been problematic. Unlike a W-2 employee, an income execution or wage garnishment is ineffective against someone who is self-employed. Likewise, collection of support is difficult from someone working “under the table” for cash.

Then, there are the professional “deadbeats,” who, as detailed in the article, simply move from job to job simply to avoid making child support payments. By the time the parent, who is to receive child support, tracks down the deadbeat parent and implements enforcement, the deadbeat either quits or moves on to another job.

In New York, when a parent is late or fails to pay court ordered support payments, the following remedies are available to collect support:

  •  Credit reporting: Child Support Enforcement will report the failure to pay child support payment to major credit reporting agencies.
  •  Passport denial: Anytime a person owes more than $2,500 in back child support, the U.S. State Department will not issue or renew a passport until all past-due support payments (also called “arrears”) are paid.
  • License  Suspension: Child Support Enforcementcan request that any permanent, state-issued license be suspended or withheld to collect back child support. This could result in the suspension of both professional, and driver’s licenses.
  •  Income tax intercepts: The Internal Revenue Service and the State Department of Taxation can also intercept tax refunds to pay back child support
  •  Imprisonment: The failure to pay child support is a contempt of court, and the deadbeat parent can be imprisoned until the contempt is purged. Support would have to be paid to purge the contempt.

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