Child Support Building in Tifton, Georgia, USA. Photo: Michael Rivera /Wikimedia Commons
When it comes to child support, the amount set out by the judge must be paid. Many parents assume that when the custodial parent is not allowing them to see their kids, they can as well fail to pay for child support.
According to the Family Responsibility Office (FRO), the non-custodial parent must ensure to pay the support payments. FRO acts as an intermediary to ensure a child’s rights are protected.
If your former spouse has child support payments arrears, the FRO has the power to force them pay these arrears.
What is Wage Garnishment?
To get the overdue payment, you can choose to sue with the help of an experienced lawyer. You can find a good family lawyer who has dealt with such cases before. It doesn’t matter whether the custodial parent has moved out of the country like the US or Canada; you can still sue and get your judgment for the overdue payments.
One of the ways in which the court may have a leeway to pay for the arrears is through wage garnishment. Wage garnishment is when the court legally orders the custodial parent who is owed child support payments to seize a certain percentage of money to pay the amount in arrears.
If your former spouse has arrears, you can garnish his/her wages to make sure the amount for money that is unpaid clears up. But there is a procedure you have to follow. Again, this depends on the state you live in and the province or territory. For instance, in Canada, there are both federal laws and province laws that govern the amount of wage garnishment that you may receive.
For you to obtain the wage garnishment, you need to:
- Obtain a judgment from the court
- Your former spouse employer must be provided with a writ of execution: This document gives the authority to put judgment into force. In Canada, one may also expect a writ for a seizure to sell their property to ensure child support is paid in full
To enforce this, federal laws enforce provincial or territorial law to:
- Make searches to ensure your former spouse is living or still working
- To suspend a Canadian passport or any other federal licenses from your former spouse. The deferral government does this if the support payer has not paid three or more support payments. But the passport cannot be suspended until a request to do so is sent by the Maintenance Enforcement Program.
- Cut off any payment paid to your former spouse and hence channel the payments towards clearing child support arrears
The common misconception is that people file bankruptcy to avoid paying for their child support. However, any declaration of the bankruptcy from your former spouse cannot terminate their obligations for the child.
The FRO makes sure that they become a creditor against the estate of the support payor. This makes them to continue enforcing the overdue payments for child support.
If You Have Not Been Receiving Child Support Payments
If you have not been receiving the child support payments as per the court orders, you shouldn’t hesitate to contact FRO. You can do this with the help of a family lawyer who can help you understand the process of enforcing child support. Through this, you will be able to know if the amount has been made.
Sometimes you may not receive the payments consistently. For instance, the check may be lost or stolen. If the payment is being deducted from the wages, these must be remitted to the Clearinghouse to be in accordance with the pay dates.
The process may be delayed due to many reasons. One is the use of mail; the times on this may vary. To ensure you get your payment on time, you may avoid receiving these payments through paper checks. Hence, you may opt to use electronic payments, which make the process faster.
ü You may request the child support payments to be deposited directly into your bank or,
ü Request the payments be made placed on a debit card
It’s worth noting that even if you’re not receiving child support payments, you don’t have any powers to limit the non-custodial parent the right to see the children. You should respect their rights to ensure you’re not against the law.
Obtaining Legal Help to Collect Overdue Child Support
It’s hard for the custodial parent to make ends meet when the support payor is delaying making child support payments. If you’re not able to meet your child’s obligation because your former spouse fails to pay child support, you don’t have to struggle.
As already mentioned, you can contact an experienced family lawyer who may provide the right guidance on how to collect the arrears. The lawyer may also help you answer any other questions you may be having concerning your child support issues.