What Government Agency enforces a NJ child support order?
The New Jersey Probation Division is tasked with enforcing New Jersey child support orders.
What happens if NJ child support is paid through the New Jersey Probation Department and the obligor fails to pay?
If the obligor fails to make scheduled child support payments, an enforcement hearing may be scheduled to deal with the issue. At the hearing the parents will typically present evidence of their financial situation. The obligor is required to attend the hearing, and if he or she fails to do so, a bench warrant may be issues for his or her arrest. If an arrest warrant is issued, the obligor’s driver’s license may be suspended as well.
Who conducts an enforcement hearing and what is the process?
At the hearing the case will be heard either by a Hearing Officer or a judge. Hearing Officers can make recommendations, but if either party objects to the recommendation a judge will hear the case instead. If neither party objects to the Hearing Officer’s recommendation, a judge will simply review the recommendation and if satisfied, will sign off on it, making the recommendation an enforceable order.
What are the methods used by the Probation Department to collect NJ child support?
The Probation Division has a number of methods they may use to collect the child support that is owed, including the following:
Also called wage garnishment, notice is sent to an obligor’s employer who must then deduct a certain amount from the obligor’s income to be paid toward the child support owed.
Tax refund offset
If the obligor is in arrears and is entitled to a tax refund, the amount of unpaid child support may be taken from the tax refund.
Bank accounts may be “frozen” and seized if the amount of child support owed meets certain criteria.
If the court finds the obligor to be in contempt of court by voluntarily not paying child support, the obligor may be arrested.
If the amount of child support owed is $1,000 or more, it may be reported on the obligor’s credit report.
If the obligor is awarded money in a civil lawsuit, that money may be taken to pay for outstanding child support owed.
Driver’s licenses will be suspended if there is a warrant for the arrest of the obligor for failure to pay child support. Professional licenses may be in jeopardy as well.
An obligor owing more than $2,500 in arrears will not be issued a new passport or have their passport renewed.
What should I do if I am having a problem paying my New Jersey child support obligation?
As you can see, failure to pay child support is a serious problem. It may not only harm your child and the parent of your child by having to live on less money, it can also damage your life. If you have a financial hardship that makes it impossible for you to pay child support, seek a modification of your child support order as soon as possible to avoid the enforcement methods described above. You may not seek a modification or reduction of child support at an enforcement hearing; it must be done in a separate proceeding.
Please call Peter Van Aulen for a free initial consultation to discuss your New Jersey child support order.