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What Happens if a Parent Fails to Pay Child Support in New Jersey?

Parents have a fiduciary responsibility to support their children following their separation or divorce. The non-custodial parent will be ordered to pay child support. If an order for child support payment is incomplete or late, the court can enforce various measures to ensure it’s paid. Please continue reading to learn the potential consequences of failing to pay child support and how a compassionate Ocean County Child Support Attorney can help you file a petition to modify your existing child support order. 

What Are the Consequences of Not Paying Child Support in New Jersey?

One of the most common enforcement measures the court will take to enforce a child support order is income withholding. If you are 14 days late or miss two payments, the court can garnish your paycheck. This means they will direct your employer to deduct the amount of unpaid child support from your paycheck and send it directly to the supported spouse. However, it’s crucial to understand that income withholding orders don’t work with self-employed or unemployed payor spouses.

Therefore, the court can choose to issue a Writ of Execution. This court order gives the court the right to seize and sell your personal property. The proceeds from the sale are then used to pay past-due child support. In addition, the court can intercept your federal and state tax refunds and unemployment insurance if they see fit.

If the child support payments have not been paid for six months or more, the court can suspend your driver’s license. If you’re applying for a professional, occupational, recreational, or sporting license, the court can order the licensing agency to suspend, revoke, or deny it.

Will I Lose Custody or Visitation Rights for Failing to Pay?

Understandably, many parents who fail to pay child support are concerned that they will lose custody or visitation rights as a punishment. However, custody and visitation rights are entirely separate from child support. The only time a parent would lose custody or visitation rights is if the court finds the parent poses a risk to the safety and well-being of their child. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand that a custodial parent cannot withhold access from the non-custodial parent for failing to pay child support. Child support does not influence custody in this manner.

If you find yourself in a tough spot where you can no longer afford to make your court-ordered child support payments, please don’t hesitate to contact a trusted Ocean County child support attorney from the Law Office of Sarina Gianna, LLC, who can help you request a modification to your existing child support order to reflect your current circumstances.