A parent is legally obligated to provide their child with food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, and education until the child turns 18. Parents share this responsibility, and courts in the state of Kansas do not distinguish between parents according to gender when issuing orders for child support.
Unfortunately, some parents use child support as a weapon against the other parent. Parents sometimes fail to pay if they feel they do not get enough time with their children or disapprove of how the receiving parent spends the money.
A parent not receiving the child support the court ordered should consult a qualified child support attorney to learn their legal options. A Junction City child support enforcement lawyer could advise a parent on how to get the delinquent parent to pay what they owe. If necessary, a parent could bring a motion seeking court enforcement of a child support order.
Child Support Services Could Assist
In most cases, a parent who must pay child support pays it to the state’s Child Support Services (CSS) rather than directly to the co-parent. CSS deposits the money it receives into the receiving parent’s bank account. Divorce attorneys in Junction City make paying child support through CSS a condition of the child support agreement pursuant to Kansas Statute §23-3004.
If the paying parent is working, CSS files an Income Withholding Order (IWO) with the paying parent’s employer directing the employer to deduct child support from the parent’s paycheck and send it to CSS. If the paying parent changes jobs, the order will move with them to the new employer. If the paying parent is self-employed or unemployed, CSS could still collect and distribute the funds, but it does not have the option of imposing an IWO.
A parent is in arrears when a payment is 30 days or more past due. CSS can take enforcement actions if the paying parent is in arrears. However, a parent waiting for a child support payment might receive the delayed funds sooner by going to court directly rather than waiting for CSS to act.
Bringing a Motion to Enforce a Child Support Order
If the paying parent gets behind on child support and refuses to bring payments current or claims they cannot pay, the receiving parent could consult with a Junction City child support enforcement attorney about securing payment. Often, pressure from the receiving parent’s lawyer directed toward the paying parent and their attorney can spur a delinquent parent to bring their payments up to date.
If pressure does not work, a receiving parent could bring a motion seeking enforcement of the child support order. Like CSS, judges have broad authority to act against parents who are in arrears, including:
- Suspending their driver’s license, hunting or fishing license, or professional license
- Denying a passport to the delinquent parent
- Reporting the arrears to the credit bureaus
- Ordering garnishment of wages
- Levying a parent’s bank account
- Intercepting state or federal income tax refunds
- Putting a lien property such as a vehicle, boat, or home
Judges even have the authority to find a delinquent parent in contempt and jail them.
Sometimes a delinquent parent can prove that an unavoidable financial misfortune caused the arrears. In that case, a judge might modify the support order temporarily. However, if a parent quits a job or loses a job and does not find new employment with similar wages, a judge might order the parent to continue paying according to the original order despite earning less money. Courts make efforts not to reward parents for avoiding their child support obligations.
Do Not Link Visitation and Support
Sometimes, a parent stops paying child support because they are unhappy with the amount or quality of time they spend with their children. Some parents will deny access to the children if a parent fails to pay their child support.
Although these might seem like fair steps to take when emotions are running high, visitation and support are rights belonging to the child. A parent who withholds either child support or visitation denies their child their rights. Courts frown on this for obvious reasons.
Both parents must follow the visitation schedule in the parenting plan regardless of whether child support is current. When such issues arise, consult a child support enforcement lawyer in Junction City to discuss appropriate legal options.
Rely on a Junction City Attorney for Help With Child Support Enforcement
Child support is often a source of conflict for parents who do not live together. When a parent falls significantly behind on child support, either CSS or the other parent could take enforcement action.
If your co-parent is behind on child support or if you owe support you cannot pay, a Junction City child support enforcement lawyer could help your family resolve the issue. Call today to schedule a conversation with a knowledgeable professional.