One of the most common issues that divorce lawyers see come up after a divorce is non-payment of child support. After a divorce between two parents is finalized, the parent who does not have primary custody is usually ordered to pay monthly child support payments to help pay for their child’s living expenses. Unfortunately, many parents either fall behind on their payments or ignore them entirely, putting undue hardship on the parent who has the primary responsibility of taking care of the child.


What can parents do to make sure that they receive unpaid child support? There are several actions that can be taken against parents who have fallen behind on their support payments, including:

  • Wage garnishment – When a deadbeat parent fails to pay their child support, it is usually possible to have their wages garnished. Wage garnishment is when a certain amount of money is withheld from a person’s paycheck in order to pay down a debt. While wage garnishment is often done to repay back taxes, a parent’s wages can also be garnished in order to withhold monthly child support payments. If your former spouse or partner owes you child support, look into having their wages garnished in order to make sure payments are made in the future.
  • Income tax intercepts – In some cases, the IRS will intercept income tax refunds for people who owe back child support. When this happens, some or all of a person’s yearly tax refunds will be withheld and paid to the parent to whom back child support payments are owed.
  • License suspension – It is also possible for the Local Child Support Agency to have the licenses of deadbeat parents suspended. While this is most commonly done to driver’s licenses, it can also be done to professional licenses for contractors, doctors, realtors, cosmetologists, etc.
  • Property liens – Another method of collecting back child support is to put liens on the property of the parent who has fallen behind on their payments. Liens can be placed on houses or land, and proceeds from any sale will be put toward payment of back child support.
  • Property seizures – Once a parent falls 60 days or $100 behind on their payments, the Franchise Tax Board is notified. When that happens, the Franchise Tax Board can take funds from bank accounts, royalties, commissions, and other payments due to the parent who owes the other money, as well as seize property like cash and vehicles.
  • Withholding benefits – Parents who are behind on their child support payments can have their federal and state benefits withheld in order to pay off back payments. This includes unemployment, disability, and worker’s compensation.
  • Passport denial – The U.S. State Department can refuse to issue or renew a passport belonging to any parent who owes more than $2,500 in child support.


If you are seeking back child support, there are solutions available to you. In order to take advantage of them, contact a family law lawyer and your local child support agency, and ask them what steps can be taken to collect the payments you are owed.

For even more tips and resources for divorcees and single parents, contact McFarling Law Group at 702 766 6671