Child support — money paid from one parent to the other for the purpose of providing financially for a child — is one of the most hotly contested topics connected with divorce and co-parenting. While the calculation of the amount of child support rests upon a formula and objective factors, issues can arise when the party responsible for paying doesn't pay as ordered by the court. And when it comes to delinquent payments, make no mistake: New Jersey is serious about enforcing the payment of court-ordered child support.
How Does New Jersey enforce child support obligations?
The state's authority to use various means to collect outstanding child support payments arises from the Child Support Improvement Act. This legislation was enacted to “promote the best interests of all families with children” with the goal of establishing “an effective and efficient child support program that is accessible to all the citizens of this State needing its services.”
To further this objective, the state has several enforcement services available to make sure that child support is paid in full and in a timely manner, including the following:
- Income withholding from paychecks
- Interception of lottery prizes
- Asset seizure
- Credit reporting
- Offsetting Tax Refunds
- Civil awards/settlements
- Court judgements and enforcement
Some NJ agencies even have the authority to withhold or suspend certain licenses because of unpaid child support obligations. For example, the Division of Fish and Wildlife, which issues hunting and fishing licenses, requires as a condition of purchasing these recreational licenses, that the applicant file a NJ Child Support Certification and submit the form annually to request renewal.
In addition to recreational and sporting licenses, other types of licenses affected by this provision include:
If the non-custodial parent owes $2,500 or more, their passport application may be denied. The NJ Child Support program refers such cases to the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), which works with the U.S. State Department to block such applications.
New Jersey is a “zero arrears” state, which means that all outstanding child support debt must be paid in full before the application can proceed. Those who receive adverse decisions on their passport applications because of child support arrears can appeal by showing that either the debt didn't exceed $2,500 or that travel is required for employment, medical emergency, or imminent death of an immediate family member.
Get Experienced Legal Advice
Whether you're seeking to enforce a child support order or figuring out how you can make court-ordered payments fit into your financial life, you need experienced legal guidance. Attorney Joseph D. Lento can help. He's been passionately representing New Jersey families for many years. Contact the Lento Law Firm online or give them a call at 888-535-8636.