A court assigns child support in order to improve the life of a child. Whether the parents are divorced or never married in the first place, the state of Ohio believes a child deserves to live a life financially supported by the two parents. That failure or refusal to pay child support under a court order may result in severe consequences.
In Ohio, child support payments are made through a state-run agency called Child Support Payment Central (CSPC). This office is the first to report when a payment is missed and has many options available for enforcement. CSPC can request a tax intercept, which means it pulls the missed payment out of incoming tax refunds before they’re delivered. It’s also within their power to seize funds in a bank account or create a lien on any real estate or personal property. They can also issue withholding orders that garnish paychecks, unemployment compensation, disability benefits, or even lottery winnings. CSPC can even suspend licenses for driving, hunting, fishing, or commercial use. And finally, they can request that a judge issue a “seek work order” that forces the non-custodial parent to look for a job and report their job-seeking efforts to the court.
Contempt Of Court
After several missed payments, a judge may find you in contempt of court. Being held in contempt for payment delinquency is unlike any other debt collection process because it carries the potential for jail time. A judge can sentence up to 90 days in jail or steep fines and community service. Since the purpose of the sentence is to encourage payment, the delinquent parent can usually get out of these punishments by paying the amount owed.
When the unpaid child support reaches an excess of $5,000, it is considered “criminal nonsupport,” and special prosecutors seek a felony conviction. This is also the case if 26 payments are missed out of a running total of 104. A conviction of this kind can carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison, and a fine of $5,000 in addition to the amount already owed.
For more information about child support enforcement in the state of Ohio, call Garretson & Holcomb, LLC at (513) 863-6600.