Collecting Back Child Support

Tips for Collecting Child Support
Collecting back child support from a 'dead beat parent' can be quite difficult sometimes, but law enforcement is on your side. If your ex isn't keeping up to date with payments or is well overdue, you may feel you have no chance of ever seeing the money you're owed – but if you follow the right procedure, you can make sure you eventually get paid in full.

Let's take a look at how to collect unpaid child support, the methods used for doing so and how much you might be able to collect.

How to go about Collecting Back Child Support

If your ex has been ordered by a court of law to pay child support and he or she is behind on payments, you can pursue that money through the proper legal channels. Usually the problem will be handled by state law enforcement and your state court system, although in serious cases it can be dealt with under federal law. The Federal Deadbeat Punishment Act allows you to go after your spouse through the federal court system if he or she owes more than two years of back child support, for instance.

In order to set the ball rolling, you simply need to get in touch with the Child Support Enforcement Office for your area and file a complaint.

Methods for Collecting Back Child Support
Again, the methods used by law enforcement and the courts for actually collecting back payments differs depending on whether it's being handled at the state or federal level. Generally, the courts have a few tools at their disposal for forcing a dead beat parent to pay up.

One of the most common methods is pay garnishment. This means taking a portion of the money out of the parent's pay before he or she actually receives it, like a tax. This can be very financially crippling to the deadbeat parent, as typically the authorities will calculate the amount to garnish each month so that he or she only has just enough left to cover essentials.

However, if the non-paying parent is unemployed, pay garnishment is not as useful. But even unemployment benefits can be garnished in order to pay back child support. In extreme cases, a prison sentence can be handed down to a deadbeat parent who chronically avoids paying child support.

How Much You Can Collect
In most cases, you are entitled to collect 100% of the money owed to you in the form of back child support. In fact, usually your ex will be required by law to continue paying back child support until it's completely paid, even if the child turns 18 and becomes a legal adult before the full amount has been paid. Some dead beat parents assume that if they simply wait until the child turns 18, they can 'get away' with not paying their back child support. This isn't the case, so don't be afraid to pursue all the money owed to you for as long as it takes.

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