Both child support and spousal support orders can be enforced if the party obligated to pay support fails or refuses to do so. There are many ways to enforce a child support or spousal support order. When an order is entered, the court issues an automatic wage attachment to the employer of the person ordered to pay child support or spousal support. Should that person fail to pay the support then a Notice of Non-Compliance will be sent to the obligated party. If he or she still refuses to pay the support order then a Petition for Contempt of the Support Order can be filed and a Contempt Conference at the domestic relations office will be scheduled. If no agreement is reached to have compliance with the support order or one is reached and violated then there will be a Contempt Hearing scheduled. At the hearing the party obligated to pay support will be brought before a judge who can sentence that person to jail if necessary to enforce the support order.
Other ways to enforce a support Order are: (1) Income Tax Refund Intercept – this results in the federal government “intercepting” any refund of a person who is in violation of a support order and turning that money over to the agency collecting the money to insure it gets to the person who is receiving the support; (2) Credit Bureau Reporting – when a support order is entered a report of arrearages is sent to the credit reporting agencies or bureaus; this can cause immediate problems for the one ordered to pay support as a bad credit rating results. Most people do not know or understand that in almost all cases there is an arrearage on support established at the time of the entry of the order; this has caused problems for people who are not “dead beat” parents and actually are paying the support as ordered; (3) a Lien and Judgment on the support money owed (the arrearage) exists immediately upon an arrearage occurring; this will prevent the person ordered to pay support from obtaining credit or selling real estate;(4) further, if necessary the court can order a Driver’s License Suspension; (5) The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, which has been adopted by all of the states in the U.S.A. and Territories including Puerto Rico and provides for administration of support cases for out of state persons as well as for enforcement of support orders.
As a family attorney, Attorney Ghen represents clients in support enforcement actions in Berks County, Pennsylvania.