Child Support Enforcement

The issue of child support can be easy or problematic, depending on the attitudes of both parents. Some parents just make an agreement together and never have to deal with court ordered child support. However, a lot of child support cases do go to court.

Once a case of child support goes to court, the judge will determine how much child support should be paid by the non-custodial parent. It will then be up to that parent to make the payments as ordered by the court. But what happens when a parent doesn’t pay child support according to the court order?

Automatic State Child Support Enforcement

In some states there is a program setup where people who have not paid child support like they are supposed to, are automatically tracked. They are then charged, or have their wages garnished, in order to make up the payments. However, some people consider that system to be controversial. So, not all states use it.

Working with Child Support Agencies and Friend of the Court Offices

If you have custody of your child and the other parent is not making the child support payments on time, you can try to get them to comply with help from a Friend of the Court or Child Support Agency, depending on where you live. In certain states the child support agencies will work hard to track down the other parent and get them to pay. They may even take legal actions. Those actions might include garnishing the other parent’s wages, or even putting them in jail if they refuse to comply with the court order.

Working Between States

If you live in one state and the other parent lives in another state, you should know that working on child support enforcement between states can be tricky. However, there are private agencies that can help you to connect with state child support agencies in the other state. You may also be able to cut out the middleman entirely and just ask your state child support agency to talk to the agency in the other state. But you should be aware that the rules and guidelines vary quite a bit in each state.

A Separate Court Case

When all else fails, it may be necessary for you to start a new court case in order to get the other parent to comply with their child support obligations. If that happens, you will need to petition the court to examine the situation. The new case will only involve enforcing the payments, not changing the payment amounts or terms of child support.

The Office of Child Support Enforcement

If you still aren’t sure how to enforce child support payments, you can contact the Office of Child Support Enforcement, which works with federal and state agencies to enforce child support payments. Visit their website at to learn what steps you need to take.