While parents want the best for their children, sometimes parents fall behind on their child support obligations in Muskogee, Oklahoma. A parent can lose a job, become ill, or encounter unexpected expenses.
If this is your situation, it is best to communicate clearly and non-combatively with each other to see if a solution can be found. Sometimes, a parent will have to file a petition to have the amount of child support modified if the change in financial status is substantial.
You Must Pay Child Support
The obligation does not disappear when a parent fails to pay child support owed. The child support owed continues to accrue.
If a parent is really unable to pay the amount ordered by the court during the divorce proceeding, that parent needs to file a Petition for Modification with the court explaining his or her circumstances and requesting a change in the amount owed. A court will grant a modification if the change is circumstances is substantial. The loss of employment and serious illness, as well as a change in marital status or income of either parent, may be grounds for a modification.
A modification will affect the amount of future child support owed, but it will not erase back amounts owed. You will continue to owe back payments until they are fully paid.
The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act allows for child support to be enforced across state lines. States will cooperate to ensure that child support payments are enforced.
Consequences of Failure to Pay Child Support
The law allows some of the following enforcement actions to be taken against a non-paying parent:
- Wage Assignment: Oklahoma’s Centralized Child Support Registry may be able to help a custodial parent in the quest for child support payments. For the most part, Oklahoma handles support payments using a wage assignment. An employer can withhold money from the check of a non-paying parent. The Registry acts as a collection agency. (Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 413; Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 237) A qualified family law attorney can help speed the collection process against a non-paying parent.
- Lien Against Property: A lien against property allows the state or the parent seeking relief to make the non-paying parent sell whatever property the lien is filed against in order to pay the child support owed. A non-paying parent can lose real property and personal property including bank accounts, which can be seized to satisfy the debt.
- Loss of License: You can lose your drivers’ license or other business or professional licenses. (Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 139.1)
In addition, your state and federal tax returns can be intercepted and used to pay child support, your vehicle registration can be suspended until the support is paid, and you can be denied a passport.
You can even be held in contempt of court and sentenced to jail time for failing to pay.
An order for child support in Muskogee acts as an automatic judgment against the non-custodial parent. If the parent continues not to pay, any arrearages are simply added to the judgment.
Free Consultation: Muskogee Divorce Attorney
If you have concerns about child support in Oklahoma, contact an experienced Muskogee divorce lawyer as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.
Call the Wirth Law Office-Muskogee today at 918-913-0725, or toll-free at 1-888-447-7262 [Wirth Law].