The Agency can enforce cases through both administrative and judicial (court) methods. Enforcement methods are used when a payor fails to pay support as ordered, fails to carry medical insurance as ordered or owes a support arrearage. The action taken depends on the nature of the case.
Administrative methods may include:
- Issuance of income withholding order.
- Issuance of a National Medical Support Notice which requires enrollment in an employer health insurance plan for the child(ren) in the case.
- Issuance of a Default Notice which enables the Agency to:
- Initiate a 20% payment obligation on arrears.
- Suspend drivers, professional and/or recreational licenses.
- Freeze and seize bank accounts.
- Submit delinquent payors to the Credit Bureau.
- Place liens on realty and personal property.
- Intercept Federal and State tax refunds.
- Attach lump sum payments (such as vacation payouts, 401K pay outs, lottery winnings, etc.).
- Passport Denial.
- Judicial Methods:
- Pursue Civil Court Action.
- Pursue Criminal Non-Support Action.
When can an order be enforced?
The Agency may take action to enforce a support order when the obligor is at least one month in default. To be in “default,” an obligor must have an arrearage greater than or equal to one month’s court ordered support obligation. Note that enforcement may first begin with a letter urging payment/contact before initiating any of the above actions. Judicial enforcement typically is not the initiated until a payor misses at least three months.
What is support arrearage?
An arrearage is the amount of support the payor was ordered to pay, but as not yet paid.
How can an order be enforced if the other party now resides in another state?
Support and related matters can still be pursued if the other party resides in another state. The process is known as the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). UIFSA is a request for another state to enforce the court order.
When does child support terminate?
A child support obligation typically terminates at age 18 AND high school graduation, not to exceed age 19. This type of termination is referred to as “emancipation”. Any past due support/administrative fees still owed will continue to be collected until the balance is paid in full.
Support may terminate earlier in specific circumstances. Possible circumstances include the following.
- A court order that changes custody from one parent to the other and the order also terminates the support obligation.
- The child marries or enters the US Military before age 18 and is living independently from the parents.
- The child is deceased or deported.
- The child has reached age 18 and is no longer attending high school on a full-time basis.
It is the parent’s responsibility to notify the Agency if he/she believes the support obligation should be terminated and to provide the Agency with verification of the circumstance. The Agency will complete an investigation to determine if termination is needed and will notify the parties of the results of that investigation.
Please note that Agency CANNOT terminate support when a custody change has occurred but there is no court order on the change of custody.
At any time, either parent may file with the Court, on his/her own or with the assistance of a private attorney, an action regarding the suspension or termination of support. That action will result in a Court hearing and ruling by the Magistrate or Judge.