Child support is an important legal tool that parents use to ensure that their children’s financial needs are met. Unfortunately, in some cases, the parent responsible for providing support fails to meet their obligation.
When child support payments aren’t made in a regular and timely fashion, unpaid support ( “back” child support or “arrears”) can add up, causing serious financial issues and threatening the health and safety of your family.
If you’re owed back child support, keep reading to learn the steps you can take to collect compensation and ensure the delinquent parent continues payment of everything that is owed.
Punishment for Failing to Pay Back Child Support
Parents who are in arrears often face severe punishments for not paying back child support. Delinquent parents could lose their driver’s license or professional licenses, their paychecks could be garnished, liens might be filed against real estate, bank accounts can be frozen, and they can be held in contempt of court. One of the penalties for contempt of court is jail time.
In situations where child support is owed and a delinquent parent can’t or won’t make payments, legal teams like Myers Law Firm can help custodial parents recover what they are owed.
Child Support Enforcement
Parents who receive support can get help collecting what they are owed through state and federal mandates that require delinquent parents to make payments. For example, state and federal laws like the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984 give state attorneys general the ability to collect back child support on behalf of custodial parents.
In most cases, enforcing child support orders are handled at a state level. When payments first become delinquent, the court will send notify the parent in arrears explaining the process, the amount owed, and instructions on how to comply. If this fails to generate payment, the court will often take the steps listed above to gain compliance.
If a non-custodial parent cannot pay for lack of means, they must file a motion requesting modification of support to reflect their financial situation. If they fail to do so, they risk being held in contempt of court or facing other collection remedies. Even if a motion to modify support is filed, any child support that has accrued before the filing of the motion is still owed and cannot be changed.
Can a Child Sue for Back Child Support?
In cases where a child has reached the age of majority, which varies by state, the child is generally unable to sue a non-custodial parent for back child support. That right belongs to the parent who was supposed to receive the support. There is one somewhat common exception, however. If a custodial parent dies and wills their estate to their child, the child can then sue the delinquent parent for back child support as a representative of the decedent’s estate. To proceed, the past-due, court-ordered support obligation must have been reduced to a judgment against the non-custodial and the money must still be owed.
Does Back Child Support End When Child Support Ends?
Under North Carolina law, child support ends when the child turns 18 and has graduated high school, whichever is later, but cannot extend past age 20. However, this is only the obligation for ongoing child support. If the parent who was supposed to pay support owes an arrears when the ongoing child support obligation ends, the arrears does not stop. The back support can still be collected. For court-ordered support, the recipient parent has 10 years to collect what was ordered to be paid.
Contact Myers Law Firm Today for Help Collecting Back Child Support
As you can see, these issues can get complicated quickly. If you’re considering suing for back child support, you should contact Myers Law Firm. We have the resources and specific knowledge to help recover child support payments from a parent who is unwilling or unable to pay.
Please call us today at (888) 376-2889 or complete this brief form to schedule your free consultation with Myers Law Firm. During our call, we’ll listen to your story, diagnose your issue, and propose potential solutions. Reach out today to get started on the path toward receiving what you and your family deserve.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.