The courts may order parents to pay child support as part of their divorce settlements. In some cases, however, parents may be unable or may refuse to pay. Parents failing to meet their support obligations may affect custodial parents’ ability to provide for their children’s needs and wants.
While some options may take time, the state may pursue various enforcement actions to compel nonpaying parents to adhere to their court-ordered child support arrangements.
Tax refund intercepts
According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, if parents owe past-due child support, the state’s child support office may intercept their tax refunds. The office may seize state or federal refunds and use them to offset the parent’s child support arrears.
The child support office may also take administrative action to suspend the licenses of parents who owe past-due child support. This may include their driver’s licenses, as well as any recreational or occupational licenses. The suspension of an occupational license, such as a contractor’s license, may affect people’s ability to work.
According to the Minnesota DHS, the state may pursue contempt of court actions against parents with past-due child support balances. The state may employ this action in cases when parents can meet their support obligations, but intentionally choose to not pay. If the court finds parents in contempt, it may order them to serve jail sentences.
Falling behind on child support obligations may significantly affect the parents who owe support, the parents who have not received support and the children involved. In addition to enforcement actions, the state also offers options to help parents catch up on owed payments or restructure their agreements to suit their changed circumstances.