How is child support enforced?

On Behalf of | Jul 30, 2022 | Family Law

To ensure both parents continue to financially support their children after a separation or divorce, courts will often issue child support orders. Often, people comply with these orders without issue. However, sometimes the loss of a job, a prolonged illness or injury, or other such factors may affect people’s incomes, and thus, their ability to fulfill this obligation.

When ordered to pay child support by the court, it benefits parents to know the consequences they may face if they fall behind.

Seizure of financial assets

According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, one enforcement action the state has available includes seizing the assets of parents with past due child support. If people have financial holdings, such as money in banking accounts, the state may take all or a portion to apply toward the arrears.

License suspensions

In addition to seizing assets, the state also has the option to suspend driver’s licenses for nonpayment of child support obligations. Until they catch up on their past due amounts or reach an alternative arrangement, people may lose their right to operate motor vehicles. Additionally, the state may suspend occupational and recreational licenses.

Contempt of court

According to the Minnesota Judicial Branch, parents owed child support may also take the step of filing a motion for contempt of court. The court will only take this action, however, if it determines the non-paying parent was ordered to pay, knew of the order and neglected to pay without reasonable cause. If found in contempt, parents face the possibility of jail time.

Parents who fall behind on their child support payments have options to avoid facing these and other enforcement actions. Therefore, if they have had a change in circumstances that affect their ability to fulfill their financial obligations, parents may pursue modifications of their support orders.