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Tips on How to Collect Court-Ordered Child Support and Arrears

Updated on January 20, 2011

Knowlege is Power!

True, knowledge is power but the key is how often you stay current with your research and knowledge. To be successful enforcing your Court order requires research, persistence and patience. I am not a lawyer and the tips I provide here are some of the helpful strategies I found while researching this subject. If you are in the position of filing for a  divorce or trying to collect child support arrears, I highly recommend you seek legal advice and representation.

After a divorce is over both parties receive a Court order outlining the responsibilities of each party.  A Parenting Plan  includes a Court order and lists the obligation's to be met by each parent. The obligation's are based on many situation's and can be quite lengthily. Statistic's show an 80% divorce rate when there is a child/children with developmental challenges, autism, or pervasive developmental disorder, etc. Again, I must stress that knowledge is the most important key for collecting the child support ordered by the court in the State it was ordered.Educating yourself is the best avenue for obtaining the correct amount of child support, visitation comfortable for your child/children and future necessities required to maintain quality of life.  Current knowledge of your State Statue's is imperative to be successful  for the best interest of your child/children, should you need to take steps to enforce your Parenting Plan.  Each State in the U.S.A. has State Statute's which are followed by the Court in all areas of a Parenting Plan. Some States have similar Statute's but other State's vary greatly. There are incidence's when a State may change their Statute's, and the changes made may affect your Parenting Plan. Your knowledge and education of the Statue's governing your Plan is your best offense involving your child's future and quality of life.

Knowledge of Current State Statute's

In the United States, child support and the Parenting Plan can be modified depending on the State and the State Statute ,along with case history and the situation presented to the Court. Knowledge of State Statue's, and research of case history will be helpful in understanding how your case process will proceed.

Guidance offered for your review:

Read your current Court order along with your Parenting Plan. Remain current with your knowledge on your State Statute's regarding child support and enforcement. If you are owed arrears consistently stay in touch with the State office which handles your case. Keep a documentation log as the process proceeds. Remain patient and assertive, not aggressive!

Network and look for a support group educated about your State's laws regarding child support. There are advocacy group's which can be found in Newspaper's,  on the web, on list serves and sometimes at the Library. A good mentor is invaluable in assisting you through the maze of Divorce, collecting child support and arrears. Support groups may have recommendation's regarding legal representation, people who are willing to attend hearing's with you for moral support, and assistance in areas such as available services you may qualify for. Church is another good place to network. Some Churches have "Divorce Recovery Support Groups."

Apply for Legal Aid if you think you may qualify. Many State's do not take child support cases. Contact your State Bar Association for referrals to attorney's who may take Pro-Bono work. The best time of year to get Pro-Bono work approved by an attorney seems to be at the beginning of the year.The Circuit Clerk at the County Court may also be a good resource for information. Each State has a "Protection and Advocacy" office which is government funded and may be very resourceful in the area of knowledge and education to the public.

Public information on-line can be useful to find ownership of real estate, personal property, public liens along with the status, and the type of ownership. The more knowledge you have increases the amount of success you will receive collecting child support and arrears.

A parent owing a specified amount of child support arrears may not be successful when they attempt to purchase real estate or certain types of personal property. Some States will offer a re-payment plan to the parent who is behind in child support payments.There are many considerations, including the amount of child support owed, past history of timely payments and the current employment situation of each parent. Usually, the Court will consider which situation is in the best interest of the child/children.

Child Support arrears may appear on the credit report of the parent who is in arrears, according to the amount involved, the State and the State Statutes.

When the amount of child support arrears matches the State Enforcement's protocol, Federal and State Income Tax refunds may be intercepted to pay the arrears. If the parent with child support arrears has re-married, the spouse has the opportunity of filing an "Injured Spouse Claim" with the I.R.S. This action, if taken by the new spouse will lengthen the time before the arrears payment is released.

Some States suspend drivers license's and business license's for the parent in arrears of child support. If the parent in arrears agrees to sign a written payment agreement with the Child Support Enforcement Agency, their licenses may be temporarily re-instated. License's will be re-suspended if the parent default's on the payment agreement just one time according to State Statute in some States.

Also In some States, the parent in arrears may have a Motion for Contempt filed against them if the Support "Team" refers the case to the District Attorney. The parent who is owed the child support arrears may ask the Child Enforcement Support Team to review the case for this request to be fulfilled. If the case is referred to the District Attorney's office it is important to know there is no fiduciary relationship between any of the parties involved. The District Attorney has the power to file contempt motions, open discovery, suspend drivers licenses, re-instate drivers licenses, place liens on real estate, personal property and much more.

Either parent may request a "Modification" of the original child support order every few years if they can prove they have had a change in circumstances listed in the State Statues. If the modification request is dismissed, that same parent must wait a certain amount of time (usually years) to request another modification, again depending on the State's Statute's.

Documentation is extremely important, should the District Attorney file a Motion for Contempt against the parent with child support arrears. Maintaining current documentation in the areas covered in the Court-Ordered Parenting Plan is mandatory if you expect to be successful in collecting child support and arrears.

Many parent's are responsible and do pay their child support in a timely manner.  I applaud them!

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer nor am I in the legal profession. Sharing my research was a specific avenue to share my research only. I take no liability for omissions.  Each State has different Statutes, and the example's I gave here may not apply to your individual situation.. This hub is not meant to give legal advice of any type.

Please Comment .......

PLEASE  comment and rate this hub. I would really like to hear  your thoughts.  Many people have read this article and your feedback will help me write about the information you need. Thank You!


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    • profile image

      CECYLUVCARL@YAHOO.COM 4 years ago


    • sohagiu profile image

      sohagiu 5 years ago

      i found it very helpful:

    • sohagiu profile image

      sohagiu 5 years ago

      Thanks for nice article. great share.

      i found more information about it here:

    • Mcham Law profile image

      Mcham Law 6 years ago from Round Rock, Texas

      Another option that parents have, at least in Texas is to request that the Attorney General review their situation and determine whether a modification should be filed or an action for contempt for non-payment