Consequences of Not Paying Child Support in Ohio

January 22, 2015

Child Support in Ohio

Divorce is a challenging financial time, especially for those spouses who depend on continued child support payments from the non-custodial parent to provide for children of the marriage.  When the spouse ordered to pay child support fails to provide those payments, it can cause a financial strain and may harm the fragile relationship between children and their divorced parents.  Rather than worry whether or not you will receive payments, learn more about how Ohio courts will protect parents awarded custody and child support payments. 

In Ohio, failure to pay court-ordered child support payments result in multiple types of punishment.  Divorce decrees and child support orders are court orders.  Any breach of a court order is addressed as a serious matter.  If the child support-paying parent fails to make payments, the spouse who is denied these payments can petition the court for redress of his or her grievances.  One of the most common methods of extracting child support payments from an unwilling parent is to garnish wages.  In addition, the court can also enforce the previously ordered payments by suspending driving privileges, intercepting tax refunds, or assessing a property lien.  Work with a Columbus, Ohio child support lawyer to better understand which option will work best for your situation and what payment type you should request from the court. 

Ohio courts often settle for wage-orders, or garnishment of the payer’s income.  In Ohio, the court can order wages garnished up to 25%, and this can continue until the amount stated in the court order is paid.  For parents paying child support through the 18th birthday of a child, the payments could continue to that point.  For paying parents who are self-employed, the court can order the self-employed parent to establish a bond.  The sole purpose of this bond is to provide child support payments should the self-employed parent fail to pay according to the court order.  The bond is first posted in cash, and the paying parent must contribute additional funds to the bond should he or she miss payments.  A Columbus, Ohio family law attorney will better clarify how the court will protect parents receiving child support.  Each situation is unique, so work with an attorney to review your current situation and find the solution that will work best.

Remember, this is a court order so the court can use other methods to legally encourage payment of child support.  The court can suspend driving privileges by suspending the non-paying parent’s driver’s license and, if applicable, commercial driver’s license.  The penalties for driving with a suspended license are numerable, so the threat of losing driving privileges often prevents non-payment of the court-ordered support.   If caught on the road, those driving with a suspended license could face jail time and large fines.  Work with an attorney to be better-prepared when you make a case for restricting driving privileges for non-payment of child support.

One other type of income withholding is withholding income tax refunds.  This is an effective tool to enforce court-ordered payments, as the order will often be set and not require any additional payment from the paying parent.  This will require additional paperwork, and another court order directing the funds, but this method is often employed during tax season.  The money will be automatically diverted by court order and will be paid to the spouse to receive the child support funds.  Both the state and federal government tax refunds may be withheld to pay for missed child support payments. 

Lastly, the court can order a lien on a property with the intention of the proceeds should be diverted to pay for prior missed child support payments.  This often happens when the assets of the non-paying parent are tied to property or buildings that must first be liquidated before payments can be made.  As insurance against a quick sale and repurchase of other property, the court will attach a lien to protect the custodial parent’s interest in support payments.   Rather than face this alone, work with professionals who are accustomed to the different ways the court may seek to enforce child support orders and divorce decrees.  Experienced Columbus, Ohio child support lawyers will help to advocate for your rights and provide you the peace of mind needed in these challenging times.   Every situation is different, so work with a firm that can help address the specifics of your particular circumstances and advise the best course of action.

If you are faced with problems regarding missing or infrequent payment of child support, turn to the Columbus, Ohio child support lawyers dedicated to putting children first.  We are knowledgeable on the statutes and case law that affects the type of evidence you need to present, and we know the procedures most applicable to your situation.  Work with an attorney who understands the challenges regarding enforcement of child support.  Hire Edward F. Whipps & Associates to help you through this difficult time and advocate for your rights.

You can arrange for a confidential initial consultation at a mutually convenient time by calling the Columbus office at (614) 461-6006 or our Dublin office at (614) 461-6007.

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