It can be so frustrating when your child’s other parent either refuses to pay support or pays on his or her own schedule. Bills are piling up, rent is due, but your child support is late or missing altogether. And, as the months are going by, child support arrears are building with no relief in sight. What can you do and where can you turn for assistance? There are several ways in which the courts in New Jersey can ensure that child support is paid to you. Here are a few:
Income Withholding: If your ex has stopped paying support, judges in New Jersey have the ability to order that your ex’s wages be garnished, meaning that the child support payments to you are automatically deducted from their paycheck, even before it gets to them. The garnishment is set up through your ex’s employer and the money is sent, through your county probation office, to your bank account. It is very convenient for both you and your child’s other parent as no other steps have to be taken for payment. If you have missing or late payments, ask the court to order a wage garnishment as a method of child support enforcement.
Lottery Intercept: Does your ex like to play the Pick 6? If they are lucky enough to win, the state can step in and seize some of the money to pay down owed child support. Because support payments and arrears are reported statewide if the order is handled through the probation department, the state is aware when a lottery winner owes back support. So, if your child’s other parent owes back support and wins $600 or more in the lottery, the amount owed could be deducted from the winnings and applied to the past due support.
Income Tax Refund Offset: Similar to intercept of lottery winnings, if your ex owes more than $500 in child support, any federal income tax refund that they are due may instead go to pay the outstanding support. For any state income tax refund to be sent to child support, the amount of unpaid support must be equal to or greater than one month’s support obligation. So, if your child support is $1000 per month and your ex owes $3000, their state income tax refund could be used to pay those arrears.
Lawsuit Awards: Did your ex settle a civil lawsuit, recently? Or, did they receive a winning jury verdict? As part of the settlement of the lawsuit, the attorneys involved in the case must tell the court if any party to the lawsuit owes back child support. If child support is owed by the person getting the money damages, that award could be applied to the past-due child support owed to your child.
Judgments Against Your Ex: If you ex owns a house and is looking to sell the property, you may receive part of the sale price towards your support. Any support not paid to you automatically becomes a formal judgment against your ex. That judgment is crated through the child support computer system. This means that the amount of child support due must be paid and satisfied before the property can be sold or even transferred to another person.
There are other ways that the court can enforce a support order that do not involve the direct payment of money to you, such as denying your ex a passport, suspending his or her driver’s license or even incarceration. If you do not have a formal support order in place that is paid through probation, you should consider filing a request with the court to have your account set up this way. Many parents believe that they can handle support payments without the court getting involved. But, this does not always work out. Having the state child support system in charge of the support and in charge of enforcement is a convenience worth having.
Have questions about your own child support issue? Reach out to schedule your initial consultation with one of our qualified and compassionate attorneys. Secure your future. Contact us or call today: (888) 888-0919.