After a parent obtains a child support order from the court, the supporting parent has a responsibility to pay the support amount by the start date in the order from the court. While receiving an order in and of itself is a battle, the other half of it is often the actual collection of the child support funds. When a child support order is violated due to a lack of payment, there are several options that an individual seeking recovery can choose from when decided how to obtain past due funds. An individual entitled to child support payments can enlist the help of his or her local child support agency (LCSA) for collection efforts.
How Does the LCSA Collect Child Support Funds?
A local LCSA has a significant amount of options to collect past due child support.
- Reporting each child support payment on the supporting parent’s credit report
- Ensuring the denial of the supporting parent’s passport for cases where a parent owes more than $2,500 in “back child support”
- Putting liens on the supporting parent’s property
- Suspending the supporting parent’s license(s); this includes a driver’s license and any professional or state licenses
- Enlisting the help of the “Franchise Tax Board Child Support Collection Program”
- This enables the LCSA to inform the “Franchise Tax Board” when a person is over 60 days and $100 behind in support. The board may then take funds from “bank accounts, rental incomes, royalties, dividends, and commissions” or can issue an “Earnings Withholding Order” for personal and real property, cash, safe deposit boxes, cars and boats for the purposes of collecting child support.
- Intercepting the supporting parent’s income taxes
- Reaching out to financial institutions for access to the supporting parent’s accounts for payment
- Intercepting a portion of the supporting parent’s state disability payments, if applicable
- Intercepting a portion of the supporting parent’s unemployment entitlements, if applicable
- Applying any lump sum worker’s compensation awards the supporting parent may be entitled to, to past due child support
- Taking the supporting parent’s lottery winnings for past due child support.
In an effort to increase options available for child support collection, the state of California is considering insurance interception as an additional option. Currently, the opportunity for insurance companies to pay out any claims, settlements or awards towards unpaid child support is a voluntary program. On this voluntary basis, 25% of insurance companies have elected to participate in the program and, nationwide, the program has collected $17 million from insurance claims, settlements, and awards that would have otherwise gone to the beneficiaries of the same. Recently, however, California has considered the possibilities available if all insurance companies participate. In light of this, the California State Senate has recently approved a bill that would make insurance company participation in the interception program mandatory. The bill was advanced by Dave Jones, Insurance Commissioner to allow insurance companies and Child Support Services cooperate and identify any individuals set to receive insurance payouts who may also owe child support. The State Senate sees an opportunity to increase the payments made to child support, as many child support orders goes into contempt for failure to pay and passed the vote 29-4 in late May. The Assembly has yet to vote on the bill.