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How do Tennessee courts collect unpaid child support?

Despite receiving a court order to make child support payments, some parents still do not step up financially. There are many reasons child support goes unpaid, some of them valid and easy to understand. However, no reason absolves a parent of his or her duty to pay for the care and support of a child.

When this happens in Tennessee, the state steps in and uses a number of enforcement actions to collect unpaid funds from the parent. The sections below describe the nature of these enforcement actions.

  • Wage garnishments: One effective method the state uses to collect child support is withholding a portion of the parent's income, which it then diverts to the custodial parent.
  • Tax refund interception: Taking any money the government may owe to the parent is another way the state can divert funds to use in the support and care of a child.
  • Property liens: The state can also attach a lien against the non-paying parent's property. While this may not yield any immediate funds, it prevents the parent from selling the property and pocketing the money.
  • Last resorts: As you may realize, it seems impossible to get money away from certain people. The state can punish those who do not pay by taking away their driver's license or passport and even by placing them in jail.

Unfortunately, last resort measures will not yield immediate results, but will impose hardships upon the non-paying parent. Courts hope that these severe consequences will prompt parents into taking care of their child support obligations in a responsible and timely manner. A family law attorney can also offer custodial parents advice and resources to ensure their child receives proper support from the other parent.

Source: FindLaw, "Child Support Enforcement Options," accessed Feb. 23, 2018

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