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Child Support Recovery

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What is Child Support?

Child support is a type of financial support payment ordered when two parents no longer live together. Child support is ordered because it is considered to be in the best interest of the child to receive extra support from the parent who does not have custody of the child. It is paid to the parent who lives with the child, also known as the custodial parent. The purpose of child support is to protect a child from the suffering the negative economic impacts of separation or divorce. In other words, the child is supposed to live as comfortably as she would have if her parents had stayed together.

What is Child Support Recovery?

Child support recovery is the act of recovering or retrieving missing or skipped child support payments from the non-custodial parent. When the parent misses a child support payment, it’s also known as “back child support” or “retroactive child support”. Recovering missed payments is important because the payments are intended to benefit the child and facilitate his or her upbringing.

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How to Recover Child Support

There are several means by which a parent living with the child (custodial parent) can obtain back child support. The parent can request a family law judge issue a judgment for back child support provided the parent fills out and files the proper paperwork.
A child support enforcement agency may also obtain unpaid child support on the custodial parent’s behalf. A child support recovery agency, or child support enforcement agency, is an organization whose purpose is to assist parents in recovering back child support, especially when a parent is attempting to enforce an interstate order. They have specialized personnel whose job is to monitor payments and investigate claims of non-payment. These are often run by state or local governments, although sometimes they operate privately. Child support recovery agencies often work very closely with lawyers, judges, social workers, and other persons who handle child support affairs.

Child support agencies can also help a parent obtain child support if the child’s parents were never married. For example, a child support agency can obtain a paternity test or have a court order require a paternity test.

How is Child Support Enforced?

If a non-custodial parent owes unpaid child support, the custodial parent can recover support in any of the following ways:

  • Garnishing Wages for Child Support: After a court order to require the parent to pay child support, the other parent can send the court order to the responsible parent’s employer ordering the employer to withhold portion of the parent’s pay and send it to the parent who is owed the money for child support
  • Government Effort to Collect Child Support: Both federal and state governments can become involved in the effort to collect the child support from the parent who is responsible.
  • Property Seizure: If the wage garnishment does not cover the amount that the parent owes, the custodial parent may get the unpaid child support by going after the responsible parent’s property such as cars, house, boat, stocks, and/or trusts.
  • Jail Time: Failure to comply with court order could result in contempt of court and the responsible parent may face jail time for the unpaid amount ordered by the court.
  • Property Lien: The custodial parent may place liens on the property of the responsible parent and the lien remains on the property until the amount is fully paid and current.
  • License Suspension: Suspension of one’s driver’s, business, or other license

Should I Hire a Lawyer?

Recovering child support is a complicated procedure that can have grave consequences for your child if you are not successful. For this reason, it is in your best interest to hire a knowledgeable child support attorney. Your lawyer can help you recover child support.

Photo of page author Erin Chan Adams

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 05-21-2018 05:54 PM PDT

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