Child support orders come into effect through either settlement, which includes a stipulated order, or a contested hearing and/or trial in which the court enters an order after hearing the evidence. It’s most unfortunate if the payer doesn’t make the required payments, after the parties have incurred time, inconvenience, and in many cases, escalating fees to bring about the order. You may wish to consider some of the following remedies:
- Earnings Assignment Order for Support
You should consider using this device right after the court makes the order for support. It requires the employer to deduct child support and pay it directly to the supported parent. An Earnings Assignment Order is probably the most effective and common enforcement method.
- Judgement Lien on Real Property
You can also record an Abstract of Support Judgment after the support order is made. An Abstract should be recorded in each county where the payer spouse owns real property. While an Abstract of Support Judgement will not automatically result in the payment of delinquent child support, it could work if the defaulting party is in the process of refinancing or selling real estate. A properly recorded Abstract of Support Judgement must be honoured and payment made prior to the close of escrow.
- Writ of Execution
In this process, the defaulting party’s bank accounts can be levied upon after one party files certain paperwork with the court to have them issue a Writ. The process can move as quickly as the court clerk can process the paperwork. Once the bank account is levied, the defaulting parent has the right to seek an exemption, but those exemptions are rare. This is a good way to either secure the funds or get the defaulting party’s attention.
- Debtor’s Examination
Here, the defaulting parent is order-ed to appear in court and explain where his or her assets and/or income are. It may not result in immediate payment, but it can help find out where property and assets are.
- Action for Contempt
This proceeding requires a court hearing. It can take a significant period of time, sometimes 30 to 60 or more days, for the hearing to occur. But even if the proceeding successfully finds contempt, it doesn’t automatically mean that the child support will be paid. The finding of contempt can result in incarceration and/or other punitive remedies, but not always payment.
- Appointment of a Receiver
In more complicated instances in which the defaulting party has an ownership interest in or operates a business, this device results in a third party investigating and processing the support order to make appropriate support payments to the payee. This process does require the filing of an appropriate motion, and the outcome of this process may take significant time.
The supported parent should also consider using appropriate child support enforcement offices in the county where the payee resides. Using government-provided offices for child support collection can take a lot of time, but it often works in the end.