How to Collect on Back Child Support

September 29, 2016

Missed child support payments add up quickly, meaning the girl or boy whom the money is supposed to aid suffers increasingly. Outgrown and torn clothing does not get replaced, meals go unserved, and needs ranging from education, health care, and housing go underserved or unmet altogether. 

Ohio family court judges understand these harsh realities and are willing to work with custodial parents to enforce child support orders. Mechanism for doing so include 

  • Garnishing the wages of the obligor, which is what the relevant state statutes call the person who is required to pay child support
  • Demanding lump sum payments
  • Issuing a seek work order that compels a person who is in arears on child support to find a job
  • Assigning tax returns, lottery winnings, and other forms of income not related to work to the obligee, who is the parent or guardian who accepts child support payments on behalf of the boy or girl
  • Placing liens on property that either force the obligor to settle a debt or sell the item
  • Suspending a driver’s license and/or a professional license until child support payments resume
  • Reporting the failure to pay child support to credits bureaus 

The Dublin. Ohio-based child support attorneys with Edward F. Whipps & Associates provide additional information on these payment enforcement actions here and here. In this note, we want to focus specifically on what a custodial parent or guardian can do to prove that an obligor has accumulated a significant child support debt that must be paid off. 

Collecting Evidence for Back Child Support 

Start by digging out the official, court-issued child support order. Create a record of past payments by the obligor, and mark down each month when a payment does not arrive or comes in for an amount less than specified by the court order. To the extent possible, determine what the obligor earns from work and investments, the worth of the obligor’s real estate holdings and financial accounts, and the value of saleable items owned by the obligor, such as artwork, antiques, and collectibles. If the obligor is not working, look for the evidence that he or she could but is choosing not to. 

Be prepared to produce all this information for yourself, as well. 

Making the Case for Back Child Support 

Understand that an obligee must go to court when an obligor will not voluntary pay off a child support debt. The case can become quite contentious, and an obligor has the right to make counterclaims for being relieved of all or part of the obligation to pay. For instance, a permanent, total disability can lead to a modification of an existing child support order. At the same time, circumstances that will never relieve an obligor of his or her child support obligation include not having married the custodial parent and denying fatherhood without submitting to a paternity test. 

Working with an experienced and empathetic child support attorney will help ensure all the evidence is compiled, organized, and analyzed optimally to convince the judge that money is owed and can be paid in some way. In addition to the records listed above, a family court judge ruling on a back child support case will want to see the custodial parent’s rent or mortgage checks, school tuition bills, the child’s medical billing history, and receipts for an average month’s worth of food, clothing, and child care expenses. 

A judge can find for an oblige in many ways, with the most welcome being ordering the obligor to resume making child support payments at the old rate and to pay all past due installments with interest. Other outcomes include lowering ongoing payments while requiring full payment of back child support, requiring only payment of back support, and requiring only the resumption of payments. 

Contact Edward F. Whipps & Associates in Dublin by calling (614) 461-6006 or by filling out this online appointment request form. In addition to child support enforcement, we help our clients achieve their best outcomes in divorce cases, spousal support disputes, protective order requests, and all other forms of family law.




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