How is child support enforcement handled after a divorce?

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2018 | Divorce |

When couples in Tennessee decide to divorce and there were children as part of the marriage, one of the major concerns is whether the supporting parent will make the necessary child support payments to the custodial parent on time and in full. When there is a failure to make the payments as they are ordered, the state will take certain steps to enforce the child support order. Understanding when this will take place and how it is done is a crucial aspect of a case.

When there is a child support order, there will be an enforcement action when the payments are not made. State law requires that the support will be ongoing until the time at which the child is emancipated. When a child is 18, but remains in high school, the supporting parent will remain obligated until the child has graduated or the class the child was in when turning 18 has graduated – whichever happens first. When the payments are not being made, the child support office will do whatever it can under the law to have enforcement proceedings and collect what is owed in the present and what is in arrears.

If the supporting parent is employed and the employer is found, the child support agency will move forward with an order to withhold income. If there are delinquent payments, there will be an amount withheld to reduce that balance. There are other strategies in which the payments can be collected even if the supporting parent is making payments to cut down the balance. Intercepting a tax refund is an example.

There are other methods of enforcement, including: the suspension of professional licenses, driver’s licenses and recreational licenses; a passport renewal can be denied; and credit bureaus can be informed, among other tactics. Obviously, it is preferable that a parent who owes child support makes those payments on time and in full, but if they are not made, it is wise to understand how the state can step in to get those payments after a divorce.


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