When a divorce is finalized and the final judgment is entered, the hope is that the matter is forever concluded. In reality, however, additional issues may arise down the line, especially if the divorcing couple has shared children. If you are owed child support by your former spouse or another co-parent, and they are not paying, what are your options for recovery? How do you get what you are owed? Continue reading for advice on how to enforce a child support obligation in New Jersey, and call a knowledgeable Englewood child support lawyer for help with a New Jersey family law matter.
Child support is a legal obligation
When a court issues a final judgment of divorce, the provisions included in the decision have the same power and effect as any court order. The parties are obligated by law to follow the terms of the judgment unless there is some exception. Failing to pay child support constitutes a violation of a court order. If a noncustodial parent is refusing to pay the child support they owe, the receiving parent can either work with the applicable county Probation Department or request a hearing in family court to enforce the child support obligation.
Your family law attorney can request such a hearing on your behalf and petition the court for enforcement. The court will then order the noncustodial parent to comply with their child support obligation or face potential sanctions. If the other party does not show up to the hearing, the court could issue a bench warrant for their arrest. At the hearing, the paying party might try to petition the court to modify the child support order in light of changed circumstances or financial hardship.
Options for collection
The court has several options for collecting past-due child support. The court can order, for example:
● Wage garnishment
● Garnishing unemployment benefits or workers’ compensation benefits
● Seizing assets, tax refunds, and other funds
● Putting a lien on a house or other property to prevent sale or transfer until the debts are paid
Penalties for refusing to pay
If the noncustodial parent is not granted a modification of their duties and still refuses to pay, they could face serious penalties. They might face damage to their credit scores, revocation of their driver's license and passport, suspension of their professional license, and even jail time.
Do not take matters into your own hands
It is very important to follow proper procedures to enforce a child support order. Some co-parents decide to punish a wayward child support payer by preventing them from seeing their children and exercising their parenting rights until they pay the child support that they owe. This is a very bad idea. Child custody and visitation rights are mandated by court order, just like child support, and withholding parenting time can amount to a violation of that order. You could end up losing your custodial rights or facing other punishments as a result. Speak with a New Jersey family law attorney and go through the proper channels to get a child support order enforced.
Help Obtaining or Enforcing Child Support from Dedicated New Jersey Family Law Attorneys
If you’re dealing with child support, child custody, or other family law issues in New Jersey, contact the Englewood family law attorneys at Herbert & Weiss at (201) 500-2151 for help.