If a non-custodial parent owes child support, then they will be obligated by the state to provide payment out of personal income like personal injury awards and tax returns. Unfortunately, visitation declines in relation to unpaid support and the children are then suffering in two ways. There are no federal guidelines for consequences so each state determines what happens to “deadbeat” parents who skip out on payments. This may result in taking away custody or visitation from them as well as other things.
Relationship Between Personal Income and Garnishment
Most states consider personal injury awards as personal income, especially if the damages include punitive or emotional damages since they don’t count as lost wages.There are a few exceptions to this, especially if the award only includes an amount for lost wages. You could keep the entire award, lose a portion, or the entirety depending on the circumstances.
Exceptions to the Rule
Although a personal injury award may be considered personal income, it can still be protected from garnishment. As mentioned above, it is possible to make exceptions based on the content of the award and how you receive it. A lump sum may not be considered garnishable but a payment plan may offer the option of taking a percentage each period of distribution.
Enforcement of Child Support Garnishment
Liens or other actions can be put in place to ensure you pay your back child support. To prevent this, you can negotiate in family court to change the child support agreement or put a hold on it if you are unable to work. If you simply refuse to pay you may have visitation and custody taken away until you pay, you may face interest on the back payments, and it is possible you will be sent to jail. None of these consequences are light,and you will need to take them seriously if you are facing them.
If you have specific questions, it is best to consult your divorce or family law attorney to assure you are aware of what could happen.
Arrears and Garnishment
Your back child support can be garnished from any personal income and if the situation worsens, the the government can take from your paycheck, tax return and inheritance of assets. They will collect and it is best to strategize how you will compensate if you fall behind. With prison as a possible consequence, you will need to be careful, child support isn’t halted when you are incarcerated.
Contact an Attorney
If you are up to date or have an arrangement that is helping you pay off support, then you do not need to worry. However, if you are having issues paying support, you need to contact a child custody lawyer immediately. Do not wait! You could be facing terrible consequences.
Discuss your options, like payment plans, garnishment, and renegotiating the schedule. If you are honest and upfront, your ex and the court may modify the plan for you to continue payment.