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How does child support enforcement deal with delinquency?

A couple in Spokane that shares a child is responsible for its care. When they either part ways and are no longer a couple or were never a couple in the first place, this doesn't assuage the responsibilities they have. Often, there is a support agreement in which one parent will pay a certain amount of money every month to the custodial parent for the child's upkeep. Unfortunately, there are instances in which the supporting parent, for one reason or another, fails to keep up with the payments and is accused of delinquent payments. When this happens, the state can step in and initiate proceedings to get what is owed.

The proceeding to enforce a child support order begins when a petition is filed or there is already a motion in progress and it has a number. The venue is determined by the location of the child's residence or where the child lived when the order was issued. It will be in the superior court of the county. The person who is supposed to receive payments can make the filing or the state or agency can do so. If there is a filing on behalf of the state, there will be no filing fee. The court will retain jurisdiction over the case until it is settled.

A parent who is obligated to pay and does not will face contempt charges. There can be an order for the supporting parent to be present for a hearing. At that hearing, the obligor can request some form of relief if there is a reason that the payments need not be made. If the obligor doesn't appear, there could be a bench warrant issued and the parent who is supposed to be providing support could be subject to arrest and other penalties to ensure payments will be brought up to date.

If a parent who is supposed to be paying support does not, then the custodial parent has the right to pursue the delinquent payments. Child support enforcement is available to help a parent get the payments he or she is meant to receive. If there is any issue with payments, speaking to an attorney is a good start toward pursuing the payments.

Source: Washington State Legislature, "Support or maintenance proceedings," accessed on Dec. 30, 2014

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