Collecting Child Support Payments

A main objective of the child support program is to make sure that child support payments are made regularly and in the correct amount. While noncustodial parents who are involved in their children’s lives are usually willing to pay child support, lapses of payment do occur. When they do, a family’s budget can be quickly and seriously threatened.

Some noncustodial parents do not pay regularly, and some spend a lot of effort and energy evading their responsibility for their children. The anxiety the custodial parent feels when payments are not regular can easily disrupt the family’s life. For this reason, Congress decided that immediate income withholding should be included
in all child support orders. (States must also apply withholding to sources of income other than wages, such as commissions and bonuses; and to worker’s compensation, disability, pension, or retirement benefits.)

The law allows for an exception to immediate income withholding if the tribunal finds good cause, or if both parents agree to an alternative arrangement. In these cases, if an arrearage equal to one month’s payment occurs, that will automatically trigger withholding.




If the noncustodial parent has a regular job, income withholding for child support can be treated like other forms of payroll deduction, such as income tax, social security, union dues, or any other required payment.

If the noncustodial parent has a regular job, income withholding for child support can be treated like other forms of payroll deduction, such as income tax, social security, union dues, or any other required payment.

All states have agreements with financial institutions doing business in their state for the purpose of conducting a quarterly data match known as the Financial Institution Data Match (FIDM). The purpose of FIDM is to identify accounts belonging to noncustodial parents who are delinquent in their child support obligations. Once identified, these accounts may be subject to liens and levies issued by state or local child support agencies. An institution doing business in two or more states (multistate financial institution) has the option to conduct the quarterly data match with the Office of Child Support Enforcement or with the states where the institution does business. States are responsible for issuing levies to the financial institutions to collect the past-due child support.

 

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