In 1984, the United States passed the Child Support Enforcement Act to help parents collect child support from delinquent ex-spouses who are not paying court ordered support. Although delinquent ex-spouses are subject to jail time for failing to pay child support, one can see how this could make it even more difficult for a parent to pay. If a person is in jail, he or she is far less likely to be able to earn money to pay for the child support.
Instead, the CSEA allows the district attorney in charge of handling child support enforcement to impose other consequences in an effort to collect. These include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- The withholding of Federal tax refunds to pay for child support
- The garnishment of wages
- The seizure of property
- The suspension of an occupational license such as a teaching license or commercial trucking license
- The suspension of a business license such as restaurant operation
- The revocation of a person's driver's license
In addition, the United States Department of State may deny the issuing of a passport to a child support delinquent who owes more than $2,500.
If an ex-spouse falls behind on payments, he or she is still required to pay the past due amounts, known as arrearages in full, even if he or she is able to reduce current or future payments through the courts.
State issued child support payments are still applicable even if an ex-spouse moves out of state, thanks to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act. The state which has personal jurisdiction is the state in charge of dealing with the enforcement of all child support payments. No child or parent should be left hungry or vulnerable due to the negligence of another parent. Child support enforcement is made to protect against those situations.
Source: findlaw.com, "Enforcement of Child Support: FAQ's", Accessed Apr. 21, 2015