How to Enforce Child Support Orders

August 15, 2016

child support lawyer Columbus Ohio

A custodial parent who can prove that an ex-partner has repeatedly failed to meet his or her obligation to make contributions toward the housing, educational, well-being and health care of his or her child can seek many legal remedies. 

The first thing the Columbus, Ohio, child support lawyers with Edward F. Whipps & Associates explain to our clients is that a child support order is a contract. When the man or woman under court order to pay child support—in legalese, “the obligor”—violates the terms of the contract in any way, he or she can be compelled to make good. That often requires going back to court, but Ohio family law judges usually try to act quickly and decisively to enforce child support orders when the facts merit doing so. Courts tend to be on the side of the plaintiff—the obligee—in a child support case because the payments are due to the child. Yes, the custodial parent or guardian receives the checks or direct deposits, but the money goes for the child’s needs. 

Making a successful case for child support enforcement requires collecting and presenting the following evidence: 

  • A history of missed payments
  • The obligor’s work history to show he or she could have paid but did not
  • Records of the obligor’s property, investments, and other financial resources
  • Records of the cost of caring for the child named in the support order, including, but not limited to, mortgage or rent, school tuition and similar educational expenses, household bills for food and utilities, and clothing receipts 

An obligor is allowed to defend him or herself against a child support enforcement claim. Possible explanations for why payments were skipped include imprisonment, extended inability to work for personal or health reasons, and having another child. Judges do not accept simple, temporary, or intentional self-imposed financial difficulties as valid reasons for failing to pay child support, but true hardships and other legitimate obligations may be taken into consideration. 

A judge who finds for the obligee in a child support enforcement case can issue one or more of the compliance orders: 

  • Judgments—cash awards to the obligee that can take many forms, including a lump sum of the missed payments with interest, installments on overdue payments with penalties for further noncompliance, and upward adjustment of current payment amounts to make up for past missed payments
  • Wage garnishment—part of each paycheck received by the obligor will go to the obligee
  • Seek work orders—an unemployed obligor must find a job
  • Property liens—an obligor may have to sell possessions and property to pay back child support
  • Tax refund interception—all or some portion of payments from the government to the obligor will be redirected to the obligee
  • Suspending driver’s license—an obligor’s personal and commercial driving privileges can be suspended until he or she resumes paying child support, settles an outstanding child support balance, or complies with an enforcement order
  • Suspending professional licenses—medical, law, tradesperson, and business licenses can be suspended in ways similar to driver’s licenses when child support goes unpaid
  • Credit bureau reporting—orders to pay back child support can lower an obligor’s credit rating 

Let an Edward F. Whipps & Associates child support lawyer know if we can help you with a Columbus, OH, secure the payments owed to your child. Schedule an appointment online or reach us by phone by calling (614) 461-6006.



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