How to Enforce a Child Support Order in New Jersey

Financial support of a child is the responsibility of both parents, whether married or divorced. If the parents are divorced, however, the judge will most likely enter an order regarding the amount of child support due and from which parent. When a judge enters an order, it is expected to be followed. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. When child support orders are ignored, the other party may need to seek enforcement. Enforcing child support orders can help you ensure your kids’ needs are met and help you provide for them. For this reason, it is imperative to contact an experienced family law attorney when your child support orders are not being honored.

The duty to provide support does not terminate if a parent’s circumstances change. Whether they move out of state or have a change in employment, the parent is still required to continue to pay child support. The amount might change, but only if a request for a modification is made. Therefore, if your ex is not living up to the terms of a court order for child support you can and should seek enforcement.

The first step in enforcing your child support order is to contact the Office of Child Support Services (OCSS). The OCSS is a part of the New Jersey Department of Human Services and is responsible for enforcing child support orders. They can use administrative process to:

  • Locate absent parents
  • Establish paternity
  • Arrange child and medical support obligations
  • Collect, process, and distribute child support payments
  • Work cooperatively with other states to ensure parents pay their support orders
  • Enforce medical and child support obligations

When parents aren’t meeting their support obligations, the OCSS and use collection and enforcement measures to ensure that payments are made as ordered.

Some of these measures include:

  • Withholding income from wages, salaries, and bonuses.
  • Reporting non-payment to credit bureaus.
  • Applying state and federal income tax returns or lottery winnings to the overdue payment amount.
  • Suspending driver’s licenses, recreational licenses, or professional or occupational licenses.
  • Referring the case to the federal government, so the parent’s passport or passport application can be denied, suspended, or revoked.
  • Tracing income by requiring that parents report job changes within 20 days of the change.
  • Preventing the sale or transfer of property until the full support amount is paid.
  • Seizing bank accounts, stocks, or bonds for payment.
  • Taking the parent to court for a hearing. If they cannot defend their reason for falling behind, they may be jailed.
  • Requesting the court issue a warrant for the parent’s arrest.

If the OCSS is backlogged or isn’t providing the support you need, you may find that it’s easier to request the court to issue new orders to collect overdue child support. To make your ex resume payment, you may have to file a motion in your case. This motion is known as a motion for contempt, since failing to comply with court orders is considered contempt of court. A skilled family law lawyer can help you file the motion, gather evidence of the lack of payments, and attend the hearing to argue your case. Your attorney will be required to present the facts of the case, and show how your ex has failed to make child support payments.

Often the threat of legal action, garnishments, or jail time may be enough to cause your ex to resume payments. You are entitled to the child support that is ordered by the court, and if you are having trouble getting your ex to pay, you should know what actions you can take. Our New Jersey family law attorneys can help you understand your options and can help you recover the child support you are owed.

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