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Child support arrears: Is your spouse behind payments?

On Behalf of | Jun 22, 2023 | Family Law

Due to unforeseeable circumstances and despite unquestionable love for their child, a noncustodial or payor parent in charge of making child support payments may still find themselves in a financial bind. When this happens, what may have started as a week of overdue payments could quickly compound into a vicious cycle of financial agony. As a result, they become trapped in “child support arrears,” which is a technical term for late or falling behind in payments.

If you are the custodial or payee parent and your spouse has fallen significantly behind in child support payment, you may request the court to enforce payment collection. 

Enforcement measures

New Jersey’s Child Support Enforcement Program may locate your nonpaying spouse to collect child support obligations through the following measures:

  • Withholding income
  • Intercepting tax refunds
  • Reporting to credit agencies
  • Seizing bank accounts, settlements and lottery winnings
  • Suspending professional licenses and passport renewal
  • Issuing a bench warrant that may result in arrest and prison time

These harsh measures may gravely affect your spouse’s livelihood, reputation and relationships. If your family anticipates substantial changes, such as reduced income, total job loss, cost of living increase or a severe illness, it may serve your child’s best interests to consider child support modifications with your spouse. Filing for a modified child support order is a proactive approach to addressing financial burdens without the stress of child support enforcement measures.

Establishing a practical solution

Suppose your spouse deliberately refuses to pay child support. In that case, it may devastate your child’s financial needs related to food, housing, education, health, out-of-school activities and other unique demands. You can consult a legal team to discuss possible practical solutions for your family’s situation.