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Child Support Enforcement

Overview

It is the role of the Child Support Enforcement Section to enforce orders of support entered by the Court and to disburse all monies collected in a timely and accurate fashion. All cases are supervised by staff who implement various enforcement techniques as mandated by Federal Regulation and State Statute.

The majority of collections are made through the use of income withholding where the child support enforcement office attaches any known source of income, which can include, but is not limited to, wages, commissions and unemployment benefits. Secondarily, the child support enforcement office prepares cases for Enforcement of Litigants rights to bring those obligors before the Court where income withholding is not a possible enforcement technique. Finally, the non-traditional methods used to collect past due support include Federal and State Income Tax Refund Offset, Homestead Rebate Offset, Lottery Offset, Judgment Liens, Passport Denial, License Suspension, Seizure of Assets and reporting of delinquents to Credit Bureaus. These non- traditional methods will be explained in general terms below.

Income withholding

Income withholding is used to carry out most child support orders. If income withholding is not used to collect your child support and your payment is at least 14 days past due - or two payments late - then income withholding can be started automatically.

The child support computers can find these cases that are eligible for income withholding and send a notice to the employer telling the employer to now deduct the support from the non-custodial parent's wages. If the non-custodial parent is unemployed (and not receiving unemployment benefits) or is self-employed, other enforcement tools are used.

Credit reporting

A non-custodial parent who is late in child support payments could have this fact reported to credit agencies. This could hurt his or her credit rating when buying a home, car or getting credit cards.

Lottery prize intercept

If a non-custodial parent owes child support and wins $600 or more in the lottery, the amount owed in child support may be deducted from the winnings and is applied to the past due child support.

Tax refund offset

If the amount of unpaid child support meets or exceeds the limits below, and the non-custodial parent is entitled to a federal or state tax refund or a homestead rebate, that refund may go to pay the child support order.

Federal tax offset:

  • In public assistance cases, the amount of unpaid support must be at least $150.
  • In non-public assistance cases, the amount of unpaid support must be at least $500, and there must be a child under 18 years old on the case. If you had ever received public assistance and there are arrears due the public assistance agency, those arrears must be paid first.

State tax and homestead rebate offset:

  • The amount of unpaid support must be more than $25.

Seizure of assets

If the non-custodial parent has money in the bank, or owns stocks and bonds, the child support office may be able to take those assets to pay the support.

License suspension

If the child support payments have not been paid for six months or more, the court may order the licensing agency to suspend, revoke or deny any licenses the non-custodial parent has or is applying for. This includes driving, professional, occupational, recreational or sporting licenses. A driver's license is automatically revoked if a non-custodial parent receives a warrant for his or her arrest.

Passport denial

A passport application can be denied if the non-custodial parent owes more than $5,000 in child support.

Civil awards/settlements

Any money that the non-custodial parent may be entitled to as part of a court-awarded lawsuit or settlement may be applied to past due child support payments.

Court enforcement

If the above enforcement methods don't work, court action may be necessary. Your child support worker in the Probation Division, or a private lawyer, may request a hearing in the Family Court office in your county. At this hearing, the court will decide what action to take against a non-custodial parent who owes child support. Both parents will receive notices to appear in court. The court will hear the case, examine the facts and reach an individual decision based on the case.

The decision could include:

  • An order that requires the non-custodial parent to get into a job placement program.
  • An order to require the delinquent support is paid in full.
  • An order to require a payment schedule for the delinquent amount in addition to regular support payments.
  • An order placing the non-custodial parent in jail.

Warrants

There are two different types of warrants that may be issued in connection with a child support case. If the non-custodial parent doesn't appear for a court date or doesn't comply with the orders, a warrant for his or her arrest may be issued.

Judgments

A judgment is recorded by the clerk of the Superior Court automatically creating a claim against the non-custodial parent when money is past due on an order. This means the amount due must be paid and satisfied before property can be sold or transferred.

New hires directory

Another tool, called the New Hires Directory, is used to locate non-custodial parents and to enforce child support orders. The state keeps this directory of any person who works, or is contracted to work, in New Jersey. Employers are obligated to report employees within 20 days of hiring, listing the employee's name, address and Social Security number, as well as information about the employer.

Interstate child support cases

Child support cases can include those cases where both parties live within the State of New Jersey or those situations where one party lives out of state. In these interstate child support cases the federal Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) provides that New Jersey child support orders can be carried out if the non-custodial parent of your child lives out of state.

This law requires employers to comply with other states' income withholding orders and puts limits on where orders can be changed.

This law also protects the non-custodial parent by assuring only one current order for support is in effect at any time and establishes rules for creating only one order when there are multiple orders.

If a non-custodial parent moves to a different state from his or her child in order to avoid paying child support, then they could be charged with federal crimes.

If you want fast, up-to-date information on your case, have your case number ready and call 1-877-NJKIDS1 anytime, day or night.

The Child Support Enforcement Staff is currently handling over 22,000 Cases and has a staff of 48 people.

Jennifer Edwards, Vicinage Assistant Chief Probation Officer oversees the department.

There is an Intake unit, four Enforcement Units and one Special Services Unit. Cases are assigned to caseworkers by an alphabetic breakdown based on the Obligor’s (Non-Custodial Parent’s) last name. Along with having a Case Number you have a Worker Number.

For Information and Assistance: Call 1-877-655-4371

 

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