When a parent who is responsible for paying child support fails to provide payment, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR)'s Child Support Enforcement Division can take action without first going through a court. The division has outlined the actions it can take in order to collect the funds from the non-custodial parent, or the parent who is not the direct caretaker of the child.
· A parent who fails to pay child support can be subject to the following actions by the DOR:
· Paycheck withholding amount increased by 25%
· Placement of lien on real estate or personal property
· Seizure of financial assets
· Suspension of business, trade or professional licenses, as well as of driver's license or motor vehicle registration
· Referral of case to the U.S. Department of State so the parent's passport can be denied
· Seizure of cars, boats, vacation homes, money from bank accounts, lottery winnings, and property used for business or personal purposes
· Interception of tax refunds, insurance claims, and benefits for Worker's Compensation and Unemployment Compensation
· Involvement of credit reporting agencies for the collection of the debt
Beyond these forced methods of payment, the DOR can also seek civil contempt of court, meaning a court can take certain actions as a result of the parent's failure to pay, according to the division. Those actions might include the ordering of the parent to participate in a program for seeking work, or ordering of the parent to spend time in jail for a certain period of time. The parent could even be prosecuted for "criminal nonsupport." That could end poorly for the individual, who could be forced to be incarcerated for up to five years or to pay a fine of up to $10,000. Furthermore, parents who are past-due on their monthly payments can be subjected to 0.5% interest and penalties.
Parents who are facing difficulty in meeting their child support responsibilities do have the option of getting their support orders modified. This is a possibility when there is a change in the parent's income or healthcare coverage, or when there is a change in the child's custody.
Whether you are a parent who is trying to enforce payment of child support or you need assistance because of your failure or inability to pay for that support, you should consult with a skilleddivorce lawyer. A good attorney will be able to guide you through your legal options so you can make the best decision for you and your family. At the Law Office of Robert W. Kovacs, Jr., we have helped hundreds of clients in establishing support arrangements that work for them. We serve clients in Worcester, Massachusetts and other surrounding communities. Contact us today so we can assist you!