Child support is generally a heated topic, especially if the parents did not separate on good terms. Some parents may even use child support payments to "get back" at the other parent. This can seriously jeopardize their child’s well-being.
In New Jersey, overdue payments of child support upon a court order is called arrearage. Regardless of the reason of non-payment, New Jersey courts are very strict with their child support rules.
New Jersey is a firm on its child support laws, and, thus, is constantly enforcing them and penalizing for arrearages. Punishments for failing to adhere to these laws include:
- Jail time
- Revocation of drivers license
- Freezing bank accounts
- Suspension of professional licenses
- Suspension of passports
- Seizure of paychecks
- Seizure of tax refunds
- Reporting arrearage to the credit bureau
- Converting arrearages to judgments against personal and real property
If arrearages are ignored, the court will take action against the non-paying parent. However, with proper attorney representation, the non-paying parent can work out a deal.
Once a parent enters into arrearage (i.e. past due child support), the custodial parent can file an application with the Probation Department for enforcement. Afterwards, a probation officer will attempt to go collect the money.
If the probation officer is not successful, then the Probation Department will initiate a court proceeding against the non-paying parent. The Probation Department will file a statement with the court once the non-paying parent is 14 days behind in payments.
Unfortunately, New Jersey does not allow non-paying parents to reduce the amount of back child support owed. Thus, if a parent owes $20,000 in back child support pursuant to a court order, that parent cannot go back into court to attempt to reduce that amount. This holds true even if the parent is not in the financial position to repay it.
If you are seeking enforcement of child support payments or if you have a child support judgment against you, please consult a child support lawyer. The attorney will represent you in court, and will help you set up a repayment plan.