I’m Owed Back Child Support. What Is a Verified Entry of Support Judgment?
The expectation of Colorado courts regarding child support is that the person obligated to pay will follow court orders and do so. Unfortunately, the reality is that not everyone pays, whether on time or at all. In situations in which there are support arrears, various remedies are available to the recipient, one of which is the filing of a Verified Entry of Support Judgment.
Pursuant to C.R.S. 14-10-122, each payment of child support due and owing becomes a “judgment” if it is not paid. The question then becomes how to enforce that judgment. In instances in which there are child support arrears, statute makes it relatively easy to memorialize that judgment into a written document such that it can be enforced. To do so, the recipient, whether on their own or with the assistance of a Colorado family law attorney, will need to draft the Verified Entry of Support Judgment, which is a standard form that can be obtained from the state Judicial Branch website. They will also need to draft an Affidavit of Arrears, which will set forth specifically what payments have been missed and an aggregate accounting of what is owed in back child support.
In addition to the verified entry and the arrears affidavit, the recipient may also need to provide a payment history from the Family Support Registry, which is a central, pass-through entity into which child support is paid and then disseminated to the payee. If the Family Support Registry is not used, attorneys will often put together a spreadsheet using “Legal Math” software, which will also be attached. Pursuant to statute, interest accrues on a child support judgment (each payment missed) at the rate of 12% per year, compounded monthly. In cases in which the arrears are quite old, attorneys will often include an interest calculation in the verified entry and the Legal Math printout. This interest becomes part of the judgment and also continues to accrue after judgment enters.
Once documents are completed they will be filed with the court. Upon filing and acceptance by the clerk, the verified entry becomes a monetary judgment in the amount set forth in the document(s). A copy of anything filed with the court must also be mailed to the other party, who has the right to object if he or she believes the amount stated in the support judgment is not accurate. Once entered, the judgment is every bit as enforceable as a judgment entered in any other type of court proceeding.
After entry, there are various steps that can be taken to enforce on it and to collect support. This can include issuing a Writ of Garnishment against the obligor’s pay. It can also include attempting to garnish bank accounts or similar assets to collect. Likewise, a judgment lien can be sought, to be filed against any real property the payor may have. Writs will need to be personally served on the employer when seeking to garnish wages. Furthermore, the writ will need to be served on both the obligor and the person or entity holding any property for the obligor. There are many technicalities tied into the filing of writs and help from an attorney may be necessary.
Unlike almost any other form of relief one might find in a domestic relations or child support case, the payee is not required to file a motion seeking judgment. They just file the verified entry and move forward from there. As such, it can be a very “user-friendly” approach to collecting back child support and much less costly than other options, such as contempt of court. Each case is different and filing a verified entry might not make sense in instances in which the payor has no job or no property. A verified entry of support judgment can also be filed when there are alimony (maintenance) arrears, though interest accrues at 8% per annum on those.