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How Do I Collect Back Child Support?

Papers about paying child support.
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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 16 March 2014
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There are a number of tactics that may be available to you when you are owed back child support. If the order is being enforced by a child support agency, you should contact them and ask for advice. You may be able to secure a garnishment on the delinquent parent's income. Furthermore, if the individual is in another state, the threat of filing federal criminal charges may motivate him to pay.

Many people believe that child support enforcement agencies are flawless. They believe that if something more could be done to collect back child support, those tactics would already be underway. Do not make this mistake, because these agencies are staffed by human beings who are often managing large caseloads. Be proactive and call the agency to make sure that professionals there are aware that there is back child support due. Ask if there is anything that can be done to motivate the delinquent parent to pay.

If the person who owes you back child support has a job, wage garnishment may be the best option to get your money. Wage garnishment is a process that allows a certain amount of money to be deducted from a person's earnings before he receives a paycheck. Even if he does not have a job or he is self-employed, you may be able to get the amount in arrears by garnishing other sources, such as bank accounts, tax returns, or unemployment payments.

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In some jurisdictions, it is permissible to report back child support to credit reporting agencies. Before you do this, it may be best to notify the delinquent parent of your plan. Since most people are well aware of the problems that bad credit can cause, the individual may be motivated to pay. If you report the overdue child support to the credit reporting agency without telling him, he may conclude that the damage is already done and he may not settle the debt.

Back child support is indeed debt, like an overdue credit card account or mortgage. Just as you may be able to garnish income, you may also be able to place a lien on personal property like other creditors do. A lien allows you to place a legal stake in someone's property, such as real estate or a vehicle. Then it cannot be sold, borrowed against, or transferred without you receiving the back child support. If the title of the property is exchanged while it is subject to a lien, the debt passes along to the new title holder.

If you are in the US and the individual who owes you back child support lives in another state or left the state to avoid paying you, you may be able to motivate him by threatening prosecution. These circumstances can constitute federal violations under the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act. There are certain requirements that must be met, but when a person is found guilty, he may be ordered to pay a fine and may be incarcerated.

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