Child Support Enforcement
By Peter Van Aulen, Esq.
When a child support obligation is established the party who is going to receive child support (payee parent) has the option to have the New Jersey Probation Department enforce his/her child support obligation. This is a good idea for the payee parent because an agency will enforce the child support award with only charging a nominal fee. There is also a benefit for the party paying child support (payer parent) of a detailed record of the payments so he/she can prove what payments they have made. The New Jersey Probation Department is mandated to enforce Child Support Orders. An Enforcement Hearing will be scheduled to deal with issues of non payment of child support and failure to provide health insurance for a child. Either party has a right to have an attorney represent him/her at said Hearing. Said Enforcement Hearing will be conducted by a Hearing officer or a Judge. If the case is first heard by a Hearing Officer, said Officer will make a recommendation concerning the case. Either party can object to the recommendation. If an objection is made, a Judge will hear the case. If neither party has an objection said recommendation is reviewed by a Judge, and if approved, becomes an enforceable Order.Enforcement Remedies
The following are enforcement remedies to enforce child support orders:
- A payer parent’s wages can be garnished.
- A Court can establish the arrearage amount and enter a judgment for the same. This creates a lien on real property which could affect the payer parent’s ability to sell or transfer real property. Also, said judgment is most likely to appear on the payer parent’s credit report.
- If the payer parent owes more than $1,000.00 in arrears it can be reported to the credit bureaus.
- A bench warrant for arrest can be issued for failure to appear at a child support Enforcement Hearing and for failing to comply with the Support Order. Then a Court can order work release or incarcerate the payer parent without the work release. Also, if an arrest warrant is issued for non-payment of child support, a payer parent could have their driver license suspended.
- The Court can enforce the child support arrearage judgment by executing on the payer parent’s assets.
- Applying the payer federal or state tax refund or homestead rebate to the child support arrears. In order to apply said refund in public assistance cases, the arrears have to be at least $150.00 and in non public assistance cases the arrears have to be at least $500.00.
- If a payer parent owes $2,500.00 or more they will be denied the issuance or renewal of a passport.
- Payer parents who have not paid their child support obligation for six months could have their driver, professional and recreational licenses suspended.
- If a payer owes more than $1,000.00 and wins at least $600.00 in the New Jersey Lottery the winnings can be seized.
- Insurance claims and worker’s compensation awards can be levied.
- Project Save our Children is a federal program that authorizes federal misdemeanor and felony charges for non payment of child support. The program seeks prosecution of the following individuals:
- Travels to another state to avoid paying his/her child support obligation
- Owes over $5,000.00
- Refuses to pay child support for over one year
Ignoring a child support obligation is the wrong thing for a payer parent to do. Ignoring it will only make the problem bigger. If a person loses his/her job, has a reduction of income, or any other significant change of circumstance advice should be sought from an experienced New Jersey family lawyer. Call Peter Van Aulen today for a initial consultation.