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What happens when a parent won’t pay child support?

New Jersey parents have the responsibility of taking care of their kids and making sure they have what they need. This responsibility does not end just because a marriage ends, and parents must continue to financially support their kids even if they do not live with them. Child support payments are from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to help meet the basic needs of the kids, such as clothing, childcare and more.

Raising kids is expensive, and this is one reason why it is critical for a parent to make sure to pay child support each month on time. If you are the custodial parent, you likely rely heavily on this money, and it can be stressful when the other parent refuses to cooperate and pay what he or she owes. If this is a problem for you, there are certain legal steps available that can help you get the money you need.

Enforcing a child support order

If the other parent is not meeting his or her support obligations, there are a few options for you. It is possible a simple conversation could be effective to the point of compelling the other party to cooperate, but that may not work. If it doesn’t, you may have to seek certain legal remedies to get the money you need. A court can enforce a child support order in a number of ways, including the following:

  • Wage garnishment
  • Interception of tax refund or benefit payments
  • Denial of a passport application
  • Putting a lien or attachment on a home or property
  • Jail time
  • Suspension of a business license

A court’s goal is always to protect the best interests of the child above all else. If other options were not effective for getting the payment you need to take care of your child, going to court may be the only reasonable way to get payment of child support.

Don’t fight alone

It can be stressful for a parent when the other parent will not cooperate with the terms of a support order. This is not a battle you have to fight alone. You will benefit from having the assistance of a family law attorney who can help you fight for what you need to care for your kids and preserve your interests. If you are unsure of what to do next, it can be helpful to simply reach out for an assessment of your case and explanation of your enforcement options.