Enforcement of Support Orders
There are many options available to ensure support payments are being made. Income withholding is standard with most support orders. This will allow the support payments to be deducted directly from the payor’s income. Domestic Relations will send an income withholding order to the employer for implementation. If there is upwards of a fifteen (15) day delay in receiving payment, contempt proceedings can be initiated by Domestic Relations or the party receiving support. Overdue support, or arrears, will begin to accumulate with each late or missed payment. The court can unilaterally increase the monthly support award to account for the growing arrears in an attempt to help bring the account current again.
Several other remedies can be imposed to attempt collection of support. The court can seize any lump sum payments due to the payor including unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, insurance settlements, Social Security retirement or disability benefits, and other public or private retirement funds. The court can put liens against real property to cloud title, suspend a driver’s, occupational, or recreational license, and report the amount owed such that it could affect your credit score. The court can even seize assets from a financial institution such as a bank. Some remedies do require advance notice to the payor regarding the action to be taken. Establishing a repayment schedule does not necessarily safeguard a payor from imposition of the remedies listed.