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WHAT TO DO WHEN THE OTHER PARENT ISN'T PAYING CHILD SUPPORT

Posted: May 22, 2017

In Missouri, child support is meant to financially provide for the basic care (e.g. shelter, food, clothing, education) and medical support (insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs) of children. Unfortunately, child support disputes often lead to the paying parent cutting off support payments. So what can receiving parents do to enforce child support?

The Missouri Department of Social Services is a state agency which serves the state citizens and within it is a separate unit known as the Family Support Division (FSD). The FSD’s purpose is to enforce state and federal child support laws.

The FSD uses its administrative process to do:

  • Collect, distribute, and process child support payments
  • Arrange and enforce child and medical support obligations
  • Establish paternity of children born to couples who are not married
  • Review current orders and adjust them if required
  • Work together with other states to make sure that parents pay their support orders

The FSD has various ways to collect and enforce child support payments when parents aren’t meeting their court ordered obligations. Furthermore, family law court judges are also able to enforce child support orders.

The following are several tools the FSD and family courts use to collect payments from parents with past-due child support accounts (also known as arrearages):

  • Withhold income from various sources, including wages, salaries, bonuses, as well as unemployment and workers’ compensation benefits.
  • Intercept the paying parent’s state and federal tax returns and lottery winnings in order to pay for arrearages
  • File liens against homes, land, and other properties such as cars, RVs, boats, or even some financial accounts
  • Suspend the paying parent’s driver’s license, professional licenses, and recreational licenses
  • If a paying parent fails to pay for his or her child’s health insurance, FSD can order that parent’s employer to enroll the child in a healthcare plan and then bill the parent for the premiums
  • Hold the paying parent in contempt, which will require the paying parent to go to court in order to “show cause,” or explain why support hasn’t been paid on time to a judge
  • In worst case scenarios, criminally prosecute the paying parent

If you are interested in enforcing a child support order or wish to make modifications on a current order, contact our Missouri family law attorney at Worsham Law Firm and request a free consultation today.

Categories: Family Law