How to Get Child Support When the Father Does Not Get Paid From a Conventional Job

By Beverly Bird

Since January 1994, the United States government has mandated that all child support orders include provisions for payment through income withholding or wage garnishment. It’s a highly effective means of collection, but when the non-custodial parent is self-employed or chronically unemployed, wage garnishment can prove impossible. If you suspect your child’s other parent isn’t going to be honorable about voluntarily sending you child support checks, you can address this at the time the court issues your child support order.

Since January 1994, the United States government has mandated that all child support orders include provisions for payment through income withholding or wage garnishment. It’s a highly effective means of collection, but when the non-custodial parent is self-employed or chronically unemployed, wage garnishment can prove impossible. If you suspect your child’s other parent isn’t going to be honorable about voluntarily sending you child support checks, you can address this at the time the court issues your child support order.

State Services

The federal Child Support Enforcement Program requires every state to maintain a child support collection unit. When a court orders wage garnishment for child support, these units automatically become involved. They act as clearinghouses, collecting the money from non-custodial parents’ employers, then sending it on to the custodial parent. If you don’t trust your ex to consistently make payments of his own accord, you can sign up with your state’s services voluntarily, even without a wage garnishment order. Your ex will be obligated to submit his child support payments to the collection unit. The unit will keep track of his payments. When and if your ex falls behind, the unit will automatically initiate collection efforts against him, ranging from intercepting his tax refunds to freezing his bank accounts and placing liens against his property, depending on how many payments he’s missed and how far behind he’s fallen.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now

Automatic Withdrawals

At the time you receive your child support order, you can ask the court to authorize automatic withdrawals from your ex’s bank account for his payments. This also usually involves going through your state’s child support collection unit. His bank will transfer his payments to the collection unit and the unit will send them to you, just as if he voluntarily submitted checks. If the court agrees to issue such an order, your ex will have to sign an authorization allowing his bank to do this. If he does not deposit funds in the account to cover the withdrawals, the collection unit will begin taking enforcement measures for payment.

Other Sources of Income

If your ex works on a commission basis, the court will order income withholding from his checks just as if they were regular paychecks. The court will also withhold child support from unemployment benefits, retirement benefits and most disability payments. However, you may have to take your ex back to court to enforce these measures. Some courts will not order these types of arrangements unless and until a non-custodial parent has fallen behind.

Cash Bonds

You can also ask the court for a sort of "insurance policy" if your ex doesn’t hold a conventional job and you’re concerned that he won’t pay regularly. Some states, such as Ohio, will order him to post a cash bond with the court. If he doesn’t pay voluntarily, the court will deduct his child support from the bond. Other states will allow the same sort of arrangement using retirement accounts or other investment accounts as collateral. If he doesn’t pay, the court will order your child support to be paid from these sources. Because he probably won't want this to happen, he may keep current with his payments.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now
How to Have Someone Garnished for Child Support in Cuyahoga County, Ohio

References

Related articles

What Can I Do if My Ex Is Working Under the Table & Not Paying Child Support?

Federal and state law requires that a noncustodial parent pay child support unless there are special circumstances where a judge waives this requirement. Courts will usually collect child support by garnishing a noncustodial parent's wages. In some instances, your ex-spouse may work under the table or receive cash payments, which makes it difficult for the court to enforce a wage garnishment. If that is the case, there are steps you can take to try to get child support that is owed to you.

How to Not Claim Child Support in Texas

Although a parent may have very compelling reasons for not wanting to accept child support from her ex, Texas will not usually allow her to waive it. The state’s reasoning is that it’s not her money to decline. It belongs to her child. The state of Texas is aggressive when it comes to collecting child support. However, each case still comes down to the opinion of a single judge on a case-by-case basis. If a parent's child support case is assigned to a judge who is willing to work with her, she may have some options.

Will Child Support Still Be the Same If the Child Turns 18 & I Still Owe Arrears?

Although child support law varies from state to state, every child eventually reaches the point where you no longer have to pay regular child support. This may be a specific age, such as 18 or 21, or it may be a combination of age and having finished high school or college. Regardless of your state's emancipation laws, you'll have to keep paying if you still owe arrears when the child ages out.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

Can Child Support Payments Be Garnished From an Unemployment Check?

Parents are legally obligated to provide financially for their children, so courts establish child support orders as ...

How to Get Evidence of Child Support Payments

Child support are payments made from one parent to the child's other parent to cover a portion of the child's expenses. ...

What Happens If You Get Behind on Child Support Payments?

If you've lost your job or suffered a financial catastrophe, chances are that you're barely able to make your child ...

Can Alimony Be Paid Directly to the Ex-Spouse & Child Support Through Child Support Enforcement?

When couples divorce, the court may issue a divorce decree ordering a spouse to pay child support and alimony to the ...

Browse by category