Once you obtain a court order for child support or spousal support, the order must be followed. This means if payment is not being made pursuant to that order, then you may need to take certain actions to enforce the order.
If the paying parent is a W-2 employee and fails to make timely payments, then you can seek to have an Income Withholding Order (IWO). These orders will be sent to the paying parent’s employer and direct them to directly withhold the support order for each check and submit payment to the State Disbursement Unit. There can be a delay in you receiving payment from the State Disbursement Unit due to their processing of payments, but if you are having difficulty receiving payment this may be a viable and beneficial option for you.
If there is only a spousal support order, then you can seek to have an Earnings Assignment Order issued. This order will be sent to the paying spouse’s employer and direct them to send payment directly to you.
Another option available to enforce your child or spousal support order due to lack of payment is to file a contempt proceeding. A contempt proceeding is a quasi-criminal proceeding and can result in the paying spouse receiving jail time or a fine for each contempt (i.e. each month of non-payment). Contempt proceedings must be filed within three (3) years of the failure to pay. A contempt proceeding will also result in a determination of the arrears owed and a payment schedule for those arrears. Therefore, if there has been non-payment for a period of time, but you now have an income withholding order in place, you will still want to look into having the arrears determined so it can be garnished as well.
If you would like to find out whether an enforcement proceeding should be filed and how best to handle your case, please call Moore Law for Children to schedule a consultation to discuss your goals and strategies.