Collecting Past Due Child Support from a Nebraska Scrooge
All parents have a duty to support their children financially and this obligation does not end when a marriage ends. As such, child support is a key element of any separation agreement in Nebraska or elsewhere in the U.S.
Being a parent comes along with certain rolls and responsibilities. These do not end simply because a relationship does. Child support is one of these roles and responsibilities. Typically, child support includes necessary financial support for day-to-day care of the child, such as food, shelter, and clothing. Many factors are considered when determining how much child support should be paid. What happens when one parent defaults on child support payments and how do you enforce a Scrooge to keep up their portion of child support?
Calculating Child Support
Nebraska has its own set of specific guidelines to help custodial and non-custodial parents understand their obligations to the child. In Nebraska, the Child Support Calculation is used to determine the amount of child support the noncustodial parent pays or in the event of joint physical custody, typically the parent who earns more per month is obligated to pay child support. Using this calculation will help the child to retain the same lifestyle they would have had if their parents had stayed together. The overall income of each parent is taken into consideration, and they are each assigned a percentage of child support they will need to pay. This helps the court determine if the non-custodial parent needs to pay a higher or lower portion of child support to the custodial parent. Child support worksheets are used to help calculate child support payments, you can also utilize a child support calculator.
What is Back Due Child Support and How Can I Collect it?
When the parent ordered to pay child support fails to pay their portion, they put financial strain on the other parent and their child, who is dependent upon their financial support. If this happens the parent enduring this financial strain has the right to take legal action against the parent who owes back child support. There are many different methods of enforcement such as:
- Income Withholding: Also referred to as, a wage garnishment, is one of the most effective ways to collect past due child support. The portion of child support owed will be deducted directly from the employer and sent to the Nebraska Child Support Payment Center. Then, they will send the funds to the custodial parent.
- Court enforcement: If other methods are not working, you can file a contempt action. This will allow the judge to hold the party in contempt, in jail, until they have paid or come up with a plan to pay past due expenses.
- Tax refund intercepts & credit reporting: If the amount of child support owed has surpassed 3 months and exceeded $500, parents who haven’t paid child support can be reported to federal and state tax agencies. The Treasury Department can intercept federal tax return refund payments and apply that money toward past due child support.
- Passport denial: If the amount owed has exceeded $2,500 the State Department can deny the issuing or usage of a United States passport.
- License Suspensions: Another very effective way of collecting back child support is license suspensions. The state can withhold, suspend, or even revoke the driver’s license or any professional licenses of the parent who has not paid their child support.
- Liens: Placing a lien on any piece of property (car, real estate, etc.) is another way to enforce child support payments. Keep in mind this isn’t typically an immediate way to collect payment. Payment won’t be collected until the property is sold or the lien is able to be paid off without the sale of the lien.
Can Visitation Rights Be Used to Enforce Child Support?
Parents are still required to pay their portion of child support. However, it is important to note that modifying parenting time is not a valid method for enforcing child support. Visitation time and financial support are looked at independently from one another. Each parent is still required to be complicit with the court order regardless of the other’s behavior. This is meant to help maintain the best interests of the child.
How Long is Child Support Required to Be Paid?
Nebraska requires child support to be paid until the child is married, over the age of 19, is emancipated, joins the Armed Forces, or dies. Child support plans can be modified when the income of the parent required to pay child support has either increased or decreased, the change has lasted three (3) months, is expected to last six (6) months, and the child support calculation will be affected plus or minus ten (10%) percent.
Enforcing Child Support
In Nebraska, all child support payments are collected and handled by the Nebraska Child Support Payment Center and the Nebraska Child Support Enforcement Program is the state’s child support enforcement office. If you run into problems with collecting past- due child support any one of our experienced child support attorneys can help. Contact us at Nebraska Legal Group for a free case evaluation.