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How does Massachusetts deal with failure to pay child support?

One of the most important issues for a divorced or unmarried couple in Massachusetts that shares a child is the amount of child support that will be paid and keeping up with the payments. When the supporting parent is found to having committed a failure to pay child support, the law has certain tactics it will use to get the payments up-to-date. While many view this as punishment, it is in reality an attempt to get the supporting parent to adhere to the child support guidelines to adequately care for the child.

It must be remembered that these acts by the state are automatic. First a notice will be sent to the parent to inform him or her that they are behind on their payments. The amount that is owed will be listed as well as interest and other penalties. A supporting parent who has a job can have the income withheld via an Income Withholding Order (IWO) informing their employer that these payments must be made. The income levy will be ordered if the supporting parent doesn't owe support at the time, but owed past payments. With the increase, the IWO will be ordered and raise the amount that must be paid by 25 percent.

For a lien, there will be an encumbrance of personal property and rights from the paying parent to the custodial parent until the support amount is paid in full. Many people are reliant upon and wait for their tax refunds, but are surprised when these are withheld because they're not caught up on their child support payments, but this is something that can be done to ensure that the custodial parent receives the payments. Reporting the issue to the credit services can have a negative affect on a person's credit rating that can influence many factors in their finances such as getting loans and raise the interest rates they pay.

Suspension of licenses sounds as if it involves driver's licenses and it does. But it also involves other licenses such as hunting or professional licenses. Those who rely on their licenses to make a living will find their problems escalate exponentially if this happens. No matter the circumstances, parents who are supposed to be receiving child support payments and are not should take steps to receive those delinquent payments. This can be accomplished with help from a qualified legal professional.

Source:, "Administrative Enforcement," accessed on Mar. 1, 2015

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