Child support orders are given in divorces when one spouse requests financial assistance with the expenses of raising a child. This can be a huge burden, so courts often find it fair that parents split this responsibility and order one spouse (generally the higher-earning one) to send money at specified intervals to the other. However, despite being a legal obligation written into a divorce agreement, some spouses eventually decide to stop paying their child support for a variety of reasons. Let's explore what can happen if they choose to do this.
CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT
Within the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services is the division called Child Support Enforcement. This division is tasked with making sure child support orders are followed and issuing consequences when they are not. They also perform other functions, such as locating missing parents, establishing paternity, and setting up, reviewing, and modifying orders.
Perhaps the biggest task for CSE, however, is to receive and redistribute child support orders to eliminate conflict and uncertainty. When a parent is ordered to pay child support, they do not give it directly to the other parent, but rather they send the funds to CSE, who then track the payment and issue a Nevada Debit Card to the receiving parent or directly deposit it into the receiving parent's bank account.
When CSE doesn't receive these payments, they can opt to use enforcement measures to attempt to collect the missing funds. They can also choose to report these missing funds to the court, which can lead to serious ramifications.
COLLECTING MISSING OR OVERDUE CHILD SUPPORT
CSE has a number of tools available to them to collect missing or overdue child support.
- Income Withholding: CSE can intercept and withhold part of a paying parent's paycheck, social security income, unemployment benefits, veterans' benefits, military support, and more in order to recoup unpaid support.
- Driver's License Suspension: CSE can refer cases to the Nevada DMV to have driver's licenses suspended until support is collected. They can also have recreational, sporting, and occupational licenses suspended.
- Intercepted Tax Returns: CSE can intercept tax returns, both federal and state, and apply them to unpaid child support.
- Credit Reporting: CSE can report delinquent payments to credit bureaus and damage credit ratings, which can stay on credit records for several years in the future.
- Bank Account Garnishment: CSE can place a garnishment on bank account or place liens against property, like your home or car. Property liens prevent the sale of these items until all outstanding support has been paid.
- Contempt of Court: CSE can file a legal action called an “order to show cause,” which forces a paying parent to go before the court and explain their failure to pay. These are extremely serious and could result in other consequences, including jail time.
- Criminal Prosecution: CSE could refer cases to criminal court for prosecution in extreme cases, meaning you could face not only fines, but jail time in addition to having to pay missing support.
OUT OF STATE SUPPORT
Divorces that are filed in other states are often still enforced in Nevada. If a paying parent moves to Nevada from out of state and stops paying their child support, the other state could refer the case to CSE, who can then take any of the actions listed in order to enforce the payments. CSE will send the support to a parent out of state.
If you are facing an issue where a paying parent has stopped paying child support, it's important that you speak with an attorney before taking action. McDonald Law Offices, PLLC takes a personal approach to each case, learning the extent to which you have been impacted by the family law matter you are facing. This allows us to tailor our counsel and strategy to help you seek the best possible resolution in a timely and cost-effective manner. Our Henderson divorce attorneys have earned numerous accolades for our counsel, including being selected to Super Lawyers®, and being AV® Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®.
Call McDonald Law Offices today at (702) 850-8004 to request an initial consultation!