There are several different options for enforcing a child support order that are allowable under federal and state law. When a parent has a court order to pay child support and fails to pay as ordered, the consequences can be quite severe. Many of these enforcement techniques negatively affect a non-paying parent’s career opportunities.
The most common technique to enforce child support is a contempt action. The non-paying parent is brought in to court and a judgment is issued that awards not only back child support, but attorney fees, court costs and interest. The current interest rate for back child support is 12% a year. This interest compounds each month. Once there is a judgment, it can be used to force the non-paying parent to sell possessions, place a lien on a house, take money from bank accounts, intercept tax refunds, and garnish wages.
Another child support enforcement technique is to suspend the driver’s license of the parent who has failed to pay child support. If you must have a driver’s license in order to perform your job, then having your license suspended for child support may result in you having to find another job. For instance, if you are a semi-truck driver and the state suspends your commercial driver’s license (CDL), you will be unable to perform the duties of your job, which could cause you to lose your job. If you lose your only source of income, it will be difficult to support yourself and your family.
If you hold a professional license, the state child support enforcement agency also can suspend or revoke that license if you fail to meet your child support obligation. If you need that license in order to work legally or to participate in running a business, you could end up being completely unable to work. For example, a realtor needs a real estate license, a construction business owner needs a contractor’s license, and a beauty salon owner needs a license to continue operating. You are in danger of losing any type of license that is issued by the state of Washington if you fail to pay child support as ordered.
In extreme circumstances, where a parent refuses to pay court ordered child support and has the ability to pay, the court can order jail time. Explaining the reasons for your stay in jail can make it very hard to continue any regular employment.
Cases involving child support disputes can be extremely complicated, lengthy, emotional, and stressful. No matter the complexity of the issues in your case, we are here to help. The attorneys of Pacific Northwest Family Law have handled all cases involving all aspects of divorce and family law, including child support, residential schedules, parenting plans, child custody, and paternity. Please contact an experienced Washington child support attorney at our office if you have any questions about divorce or family law in the state of Washington.