Reclaiming Past Due Child Support

A parent who receives support payments from the child’s other parent typically relies on that money to provide the child with food, clothing, shelter and other necessities. When the other parent misses payments or stops paying altogether, it can create hardships for the child. Missed child support is a debt that even bankruptcy may not discharge, and custodial parents have the right to fight for any back payments the other parent owes. 

Unless both parents agree to some other method of payment, most child support payments are automatically withheld from the paying parent’s income, including bonuses, pensions, disability or workers’ compensation benefits. It is wise for custodial parents to request this method of payment to avoid having to rely on the other parent’s responsible behavior. Nevertheless, the local Minnesota child support enforcement division and the U.S. Department of State have authority to collect back payments in the following ways: 

  • Tax offset, which is a deduction from any refunds the parent is due 
  • Wage garnishment 
  • Seizure of assets 
  • Liens on real estate 
  • Liens on vehicles 

The other parent may also be denied a passport or passport renewal if he or she is behind a certain amount on child support. Even if supporting parents live in or move to other states, the federal government can track them through their employers. In fact, states typically do a quarterly data match to identify employees who are delinquent in child support. Therefore, a custodial parent can have some hope of eventually receiving the money due for the support of their child. 

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