As a Denver area family law attorney, almost every divorce (with children)
or custody case I have handled includes the issue of child support. As
indicated in prior blog posts, child support is the statutorily dictated
amount that the court deems appropriate for one parent to pay the other
for support of a child. Also, as indicated previously, child support law
generally derives from statutory section C.R.S. 14-10-115.
While surfing the internet this evening, I came across an article involving
a former NBA player with multiple kids who was grossly behind on his child
support. After reading, I pondered whether the mothers of the children
were aware of their options? Though the average person isn’t owed
$100,000, his or her child support still matters.
Once orders are entered, the recipient of
child support is left with the expectation, and hope, that he or she will get his or
her child support. When formulating a child support agreement, it is important
to make sure that specifics are included. This will include specifics
as to when each payment is due (a specific due date) and how the support
will be specifically paid. Child support will generally be paid through
one of 3 mechanisms:
1. Paid directly to the recipient by the paying party; or 2. Paid through
an income assignment (sometimes referred to as a garnishment or wage assignment);
or 3. Paid to the
Family Support Registry, whether directly or through an income assignment.
Again, specifics as to pay date(s) and mechanism are important for purposes
of preventing confusion or argument down the road. No matter how much
specificity is put into an order, unfortunately problems can arise down
the road, meaning people don’t always pay. Fortunately, Colorado
statute sets forth various remedies an attorney can pursue for collecting
back child support:
1. Issuance of an income assignment, if one was not previously ordered,
is one way to go. A blank objection form will need to be provided with
it. This alone may not resolve the issue of back support owed, but if
the payor is employed it will help ensure future payments.
2. The filing of a verified entry of support judgment and affidavit of
arrears is another remedy. Each child support payment not paid becomes
a judgment, as a matter of law. No motion needs to be filed. Just filing
the proper papers leads to enforceable judgment. Interest accrues on each
unpaid payment at the rate of 12% per year, compounded monthly. Once judgement
enters, a support garnishment (different from an income assignment) can
be filed against the payor’s wages to collect additional funds beyond
the current child support amount. The judgment can also be used to lien
property or seize funds in certain assets such as bank accounts.
3. Collection of child support arrears can also be sought through contempt
of court proceedings. With the contempt, the delinquent payor can be subject
to a fine or jail, as well as remedial orders regarding the back support
and, potentially attorney fees.
See C.R.C.P. Rule 107.
4. If the obligor is not paying his or her child support and lives out
of state, one can also get the child support aspects of a Colorado case
transferred to the state in which he or she resides for enforcement purposes.
Sometimes this becomes necessary, as it may be difficult to get at someone
in a wholly different jurisdiction.
See C.R.S. Title 15, Article 5
5. One can also seek the assistance of the county Child Support Enforcement
Unit (CSEU) in the county in which you reside. The CSEU can take any of
the steps stated above, though they may require a person to give up some
discretion in terms of setting repayment terms. The CSEU is generally
free, absent a nominal initial fee in some counties. Their reach is vast.
They can take professional and driver’s licenses, seize income tax
refunds, and track down delinquent payors through department of labor
records. An attorney can remain on for further assistance, even if the
Child Support Enforcement Unit is involved.
The Plog & Stein lawyers handle all aspects of
child support, from getting it established to helping you collect that which is owed
to you. Child support is for the children. Kids need both love and financial
support. Though the law can’t order love, it can provide ways to
collect your back child support.