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If you don't pay child support, the state may come after you

In Colorado and every other state, when a parent receives an order to financially support his or her children, the state will work hard to make sure the money is paid. A child support order is not a "pay it if you will" kind of thing. If you do not pay, the state has a number of ways to enforce the order.

According to the Colorado Department of Human Services, enforcement remedies come in both court and administrative actions. What are these enforcement remedies?

Enforcement categories

Enforcement remedies come in five different categories. They are:

  • Income related
  • Intercepts
  • Credit reporting
  • Suspensions/denials
  • Court orders

Types of income-related enforcement include new hire reporting, income assignments and benefit interception. As far as other intercepts go, the state may collect tax refunds, lottery winnings, property and other payment offsets. In terms of suspensions and denials, if you fail to pay child support, the state can suspend your driver's license — personal, professional or both — and deny granting you a passport.

If any of these things do not work, the state can take the matter to court and have a judge find you in contempt, issue a lien, allow wage garnishment or even send you to jail. No one wants to go to jail over child support, but it does happen more often than people think and it can end up hurting you both personally and professionally.

What to do

At the end of the day, enforcement options do often work, but they can do a lot of harm in the process. If you have a reason to not pay child support, there may be a better way to address the issue rather than to just stop making payments.

Parents in Colorado who struggle to make their child support payments, who believe that they should not have to pay or who think they are paying too much can either take the matter to court or try to mediate a new deal. This, of course, is not something they have to do alone.

Achieving a child support modification or an order cancellation is not going to prove an easy task, but that does not mean it is entirely impossible. There are options. Under the right circumstances and by taking the right steps, it may be possible to resolve your support problem and avoid running into trouble with the state.

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