Co-Paying is Required Even if You’re Not Co-Parenting – Child Support Enforcement

Is your child support agreement not being upheld? Not receiving financial support from your child’s other parent can be a burden. Child support is a way to ensure that your child has a chance at a productive future while maintaining the lifestyle they have become accustomed to during their parent's amicable relationship. Court ordered child support is legally binding, meaning that both parties must abide by the terms set in place by the court system. Failure to do so can result in the noncustodial parent being held in contempt of court, which leads to the enforcement of child support.

When Children Don’t Get Child Support

There are many cases in which the noncustodial parent does not regularly pay their child support and spend a lot of time and energy in avoiding those payments altogether. This can put a strain on the custodial parent as well as the child.

Children can go through emotional, as well as, physical suffering when the noncustodial parent evades their payments. Not only that, the child’s standard of living is severely reduced, and their most basic needs are not met.

Contempt of Court

If the noncustodial parent fails to make payments, the custodial parent can request that the other party be held in contempt of court, meaning that a judge will punish the noncustodial parent for disobeying a court order. The custodial parent must first file a motion (legal request), then ask a judge to order the noncustodial parent to appear in court and explain why they have not made the payments. The noncustodial parent has the right to an attorney, or they have the option to represent themselves. 

A district attorney can also file a motion to bring the noncustodial parent to court and request a contempt finding. When a contempt finding is given, this can result in fines and jail time depending on the circumstances of the case.

Support contempt is treated as a civil action due to the fact that this carries a potential jail sentence from 30-90 days.

If the noncustodial parent continues to evade payments, then they will find themselves charged with criminal contempt. Criminal contempt is treated similarly to a misdemeanor or a felony and with that comes a maximum of four years in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Enforcing Child Support Payments

The Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984 states that the district attorney or states attorney must help a parent collect child support. Immediate income withholding for child support order issues or modifications through state child support programs began November 1, 1990, and immediate income withholding for orders not established through child support programs began on January 1, 1994.

According to okdhs.gov, the state of Oklahoma has a Title IV-D program that is mandated by federal regulation. Oklahoma’s Title IV-D agency is the Oklahoma Child Support services which is a division of the Department of Human Services. They establish and enforce/modify child and spousal support orders. Administrative Law Judges are used in the district child support offices to hear child support cases.

If the noncustodial parent lives in another state, then the case is referred to the Title IV-D program in the other state if Oklahoma doesn’t have jurisdiction over the noncustodial parent.

In order for there to be a change in child support, the tribunal must find good cause or both parents must agree to an alternative arrangement that equates to a one-month payment. If the noncustodial parent does, in fact, have a job, then income withholding for child support is treated as a payroll deduction. 

The Oklahoma court system and Child Support Services can enforce child support orders in the following ways:

  • Income Tax: DHS can intercept federal as well as state income tax refunds to pay the obligated child support.

  • Withholding Orders: DHS can get a hold of the noncustodial parent's income, financial accounts, workers’ compensation, unemployment, retirement and disability benefits, or even in some cases their lottery winnings.

  • Bank Account or Property Attachment: If the noncustodial parent has assets in the form of property value DHS will take the funds from financial accounts and take possession of the property.

  • License Suspension: State ID’s or driver's license will be confiscated (including commercial licenses, professional/recreational licenses) and be suspended or revoked.

  • Passport Suspension: Passports will be refused/suspended/restricted when the noncustodial parent owes more than $5,000 in child support.

Let Mazaheri Law Firm Guide You.

Child Support Enforcement is not an easy thing to go through; it's an issue that should not be handled alone. At Mazaheri Law Firm, our Oklahoma City family law attorneys are experts in providing legal services in family and child support enforcement cases. We have helped many families since 2009, and we intend to do so for years to come. With our solid foundation and our ability to put our clients first, we can help ensure your rights will be front and center. Call Mazaheri Law at 405-414-2222 today to schedule a consultation.

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