Child support in New Jersey: Enforcement a statewide effort

Child support is an important factor in the lives of children whose parents are divorced or were never married. Child support payments are meant to provide money to the custodial parent for the day-to-day expenses involved with raising a child, including shelter, food, transportation, child care and clothing. When the noncustodial parent, or payor, does not make these payments, the child suffers. There are guidelines in place to determine the amount of child support for which a parent is responsible. And there are consequences involved when a parent does not make his or her support payments.

Fourth annual child support warrant sweep

When parents do not pay their allotted amount of support, regardless of their excuses, their behavior is regarded as breaking the law. Therefore, the Sheriff's Association of New Jersey and the Office of Child Support Services co-sponsor a yearly campaign to enforce warrants on noncustodial parents who are delinquent on their court-ordered child support payments.

This year was the fourth year of the sweep, and the statewide tally showed resulted in the apprehension of over 1,100 parents. In addition, almost $316,000 was collected. However, the scope of unpaid support is even greater. The amount of back payments owed for support statewide was over $19 million. In Morris County alone, officers served 38 warrants on parties whose combined back payments totaled over $600,000.

Unpaid support is a nationwide problem. In 2012, according to CNN Money, unpaid child support topped $100 billion. While almost half of that amount was owed to custodial parents, about $53 billion was owed to the government. In a support situation where payments are not made, the custodial parent often must turn to public assistance. In that case, the payor parent is then supposed to reimburse the government for assistance paid.

Tools for collection

When a child support agency is involved, there are many tools it may use to collect money from the payor parent. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Income withholding
  • Credit reporting
  • Lottery prize intercept
  • Tax refund offset
  • Seizure of assets
  • License suspension, including driver's licenses, professional licenses and recreational licenses

Another way child support can be collected from a payor is if the payor is awarded a civil judgment in a lawsuit or settlement. For certain recovery efforts, there is a minimum amount of support owed before the recovery process will be put into effect.

If a payor moves out of state, child support is still owed to the custodial parent. There is a mechanism in place to ensure that the payor keeps up with his or her obligation even after moving beyond state lines. The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act requires employers to comply with income withholding orders from out of state. There are also methods of collecting support payments if the payor moves to a foreign country.

Child support disputes

If you are involved in a child support dispute, contacting a family law attorney in Morris County can be to your advantage. There are complexities involved in the child support laws that may require the assistance of an experienced lawyer. Discussing your unique situation with a professional may help you avoid future problems.