Collecting child support from a delinquent parent can be a very challenging process, especially when you are unable to locate an absent parent or that parent has left the state. Fortunately, there are powerful federal laws that enable individuals to enforce child support orders from anywhere in the United States. With some research and effort, an owed parent can use federal child support enforcement laws to locate deadbeat parents and collect owed child support.
Find your divorce decree or child support order. Federal law will not help if you do not have a valid child support order issued from a court of the United States. Once you have your child support order in hand, it is enforceable anywhere in the United States. If you do not know where your divorce decree or child support order is, contact the lawyer who handled your case or the clerk of the court that heard your case to obtain a copy of the document.
Call your local child support enforcement agency. This agency, which is usually part of your state’s health and human services office, will help you locate the absent parent and obtain the balance due on delinquent child support. You can find the contact information for this agency in your local phone book or by doing a quick Internet search.
Give the child support enforcement agency the absent parent’s Social Security number and last known address. With this information, the agency will be able to locate the delinquent parent whether they live in your state, anywhere else in the United States, or on any U.S. military base. Once they know where the delinquent parent is, the enforcement agency will be able to collect child support by demand or garnishment.
Report your case to your state’s U.S. attorney’s office. The Child Support Recovery Act of 1992 makes it a federal crime to fail to pay child support for a child in another state if the delinquency rises above $5,000. The U.S. attorney’s office is very selective about the cases they choose to prosecute under this law and will almost always require that the child support enforcement agency exhausts its resources before bringing a case. Therefore, you should work with your local agency before contacting the U.S. attorney’s office.
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