Child Support Arrears in Hanover
From birthday gifts and school field trips to medications and utility bills, single parents often rely on child support payments to help cover their monthly expenses. However, sometimes the paying parent falls behind in their payments or just stops paying altogether. With over 35 combined years of exclusive family law experience, our dedicated attorneys understand the importance of collecting child support, and we can help you recover overdue payments or modify financially unmanageable plans.
Our lawyers at O’Connor Family Law can discuss all your legal options for dealing with child support arrears in Hanover. Whether negotiating a payment plan with a co-parent or taking your case before the family court, we are here to help.
Penalties for Missing Child Support Payments
When someone is not meeting their child support obligations, an attorney may try to determine whether they are intentionally missing payments or simply do not have the resources to do so. As such, the consequences of missed or overdue child support obligations often depend on several factors, including whether a co-parent intentionally defaulted, the amount of arrears, and any good-faith attempts to make late or partial payments. Penalties for failing to pay child support in the Commonwealth might include:
- Poor credit score
- Loss of license
- Criminal charges
- Interest and fees on overdue payments
- Private civil litigation
- Contempt of court
- Loss of assets
- Payment of enforcement fees and legal costs
These consequences are designed to deter defaulting parents from missing further payments. It is important to note that even when paying parties experience financial hardships, they may not arbitrarily reduce or fail to make child support payments before a Court allows them to do so. Local judges take child support arrears very seriously, and parents should consider consulting O’Connor Family Law about their options if they cannot meet their financial obligations sooner rather than later.
Restructuring Child Support Obligations in Hanover
Many parents struggle to pay mandatory child support due to financial strain. In such cases, our lawyers can help petition to modify child support obligations under Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 208, §28.
While reduced support payments do not generally excuse, lower, or otherwise eliminate arrears, judges may fold overdue payments into a new child support order or consider certain compelling circumstances applicable to retroactive modifications. An attorney can also help parents request an increase or decrease in child support obligations as their children become older and employment circumstances change.
Options for Collecting Child Support Arrears
Parents may obtain child support arrears by working with state support enforcement officials and retaining a private attorney in Hanover. Collecting overdue support obligations often involves recovering arrears and ensuring co-parents make future payments on time. Generally, legal counsel for the parent receiving support may ask the court to:
- Mandate an employer to withhold payments from a paycheck
- Allow law enforcement to seize the defaulting parent’s property and sell it to cover child support arrears
- Notify the IRS to place a lien on any future tax credits
- Freeze and withdraw money from a paying party’s bank account
- Issue a warrant prohibiting a co-parent from leaving the state or country
- Intercept lottery winnings, stimulus checks, or personal injury settlements
- Issue a suspended jail sentence if the parent does not pay at least a portion of the outstanding amount within a certain period of time
- Pay some or all of the parent who filed the contempt’s legal fees
A lawyer may argue for or against employing these actions during child support enforcement and arrears hearings, depending upon who they represent. Attorneys can also negotiate a new child support order based on either parent’s changed circumstances. If the obligor lives out-of-state or fled Massachusetts to avoid paying arrears, a lawyer can help take swift legal action under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act.
Seek Help from a Hanover Attorney when Dealing with Unpaid Child Support
Whether you need assistance drafting an updated child support calculation and judgment, defending your child’s right to support at an enforcement hearing, requesting state authorities to recover child support arrears in Hanover, or defending your own position of why you have arrears, our dedicated family law attorneys can help. Our team can review your case and determine what legal options you may have moving forward. For more information, call O’Connor Family Law today.