How to Recover Late or Missing Child Support Payments

The Dallas courts take child support seriously, as it is payment used to help fund the child’s needs and other expenses, including but not limited to clothing, food, shelter, entertainment, schooling, and extracurricular activities. When court-ordered payments are not being made, it can be frustrating to the custodial parent, if not more than a little worrisome. After all, that parent is surviving off a single income and must raise a child (or multiple) on that income alone.

If you are the custodial parent, and if your child’s other parent has not and/or refuses to make child support payments, reach out the Dallas child support enforcement attorneys of Clark Law Group. We will advise you on the best course of action to take to recover payments owed to you.

Child Support Enforcement Tactics

It is illegal for a parent to skip out on court-ordered child support payments. If a parent refuses to make payments, or if he or she cannot and does not inform the courts of circumstances that may prevent him or her from making payments, he or she could face penalties and even jail time. However, until it comes to that, there are ways for the custodial parent to recover delinquent child support payments. If you are not receiving the payments owed to you, go down to the local Office of Child Support Services (OCSS) (often referred to as the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS)) for help. The department will enact one of the following child support enforcement measures:

  • Federal Income Tax Intercepts: Believe it or not, but the DCSS can interfere with a delinquent parent’s income tax refund to cover the cost of missing or late child support payments. For many negligent parents, this is worse than if they had just paid the amount due upfront, as the DCSS will take the entire return, even if it is over the past due amount.
  • Wage Deductions: You, your child custody attorney, or the OCSS can enact wage garnishment if child support is missing or late. A certain amount will be taken from the offending parent’s paycheck each month until he or she is caught up on payments.
  • License Suspensions or Revocations: The courts may order the suspension of a delinquent parent’s driver’s and/or professional license if the situation is dire enough.
  • Passport Restrictions: If a parent fails to make payments for a long enough period of time, his or her passport may be restricted or he or she may be prevented from renewing an old one or applying for a new one. This also serves to prevent the parent from fleeing the country to avoid payment.
  • Contempt of Court: As a last resort, the courts may determine that the delinquent parent is not going to pay of his or her own volition, and so will order fines or jail time.

Federal Intervention

If the situation is dire enough, the U.S. Office of the Inspector General (OIG) may step in. This usually only happens when the delinquent parent lives in a different state than the child, and:

  • Has not made a payment in over a year;
  • Is at least $5,000 behind; and/or
  • Has fled to another country to avoid payment.

If the OIG is forced to step in, the punishment is usually pretty severe. First time offenders face a hefty fine and up to six months in prison. Second time offenders or those who have not made a payment in over two years, face a prison sentence of at least two years and fines up to $250,000.

Reach Out to a Dallas Child Support Enforcement Attorney

If your child’s other parent refuses to make his or her court ordered child support payments, reach out to the child support enforcement attorneys at the law offices of Clark Law Group. We can advise you on what steps you need to take to recover delinquent payments in as quick and hassle free manner as possible. To consult with a family law attorney, call Clark Law Group at (469) 906-2266 today.

(image courtesy of Jimi Filipovski)

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