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Understand what happens with child support enforcement

When a parent is expecting a child support payment to come through and that payment doesn't happen, this can cause a financial hardship on the parent. It can also mean that the child doesn't get everything that he or she needs, which can be devastating.

Parents who are due financial support and don't get it do have options that they can exercise to try to get the other parent to pay. One of these options is to go through the child support enforcement process. This involves getting the authorities to work on getting the other parent to pay.

Child support arrears can lead to a host of issues for the parent who isn't making payments as ordered. For example, the state might charge interest on the child support that hasn't been paid. It might be possible for the state to collect past due child support through income tax returns, property seizure or wage garnishment.

It is important for you to realize that you can't stop your child from seeing the parent who isn't paying child support. Child support and child custody are independent of each other. You could actually get into trouble for withholding visitation just because of a failure to pay child support.

There is a chance that the parent who is supposed to pay child support might opt to file for a modification of the order. In this case, there has to be a significant change in circumstances, such as a job loss or a reduction in pay. The court might find that the new circumstances warrant a lower child support payment, so be prepared for this if it happens.

Source: FindLaw, "Enforcement of Child Support: FAQ's," accessed June 30, 2017

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