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How is a child support order enforced?

It can be extremely frustrating for custodial parents who are ordered to receive child support to not be getting their payments. While it can be tempting to try to deal with the issue directly with the paying parent, sometimes letting the child support system take control is best. In Nebraska, the child support office has many ways to attempt to enforce a child support order.

Some of the most common strategies are to garnish the paying parent's wages or tax refunds. If the parent gets significantly behind, the child support agency may also suspend the parent's driver's license, revoke a passport, or in especially severe cases, take legal action to the put the parent in jail.

It's important to understand that these more severe enforcement actions only happen after the parent has been behind for some time and is not attempting to work with the child support agency to get caught up. For instance, a parent's driver's license can only be suspended if the parent is more than three months behind on payments, and the delinquent child support amount is only reported to credit bureaus after it goes over $500.

Having the child support payments directly deducted from the paying parent's income can help keep the parent from becoming delinquent in the first place. Because the money is already taken out before the parent gets the check or direct deposit, it removes the temptation to spend the support money and then not have the funds for payment. If you have questions about having support automatically taken out of the payor's checks or want to know more about your options to get your child support enforced, a family law attorney can help.

Source: Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, "Child Support Enforcement," accessed July 30, 2015

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