Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

What options are available to enforce a child support order?

Child support obligations are legal obligations and serious consequences may be faced by a parent who fails to pay required child support. If a parent is concerned about their inability to pay child support, or a parent is seeking to enforce a child support obligation, they may wonder what the options for enforcing child support obligations are and what the consequences may be for a failure to pay child support, as well as what resources are available for modifying a child support order.

Child support enforcement in Massachusetts includes a variety of potential penalties and consequences for the parent who has failed to meet their child support obligations. Potential penalties can include, in some cases, contempt charges, fines and even jail time. As a result, it is important not to ignore child support obligations and to seek out family law resources that are available to help if a parent is struggling to make child support payments.

Specific penalties and consequences a non-paying parent may face include having wages withheld; federal and state tax returns intercepted; liens placed on real or personal property; garnishing workers' compensation or unemployment benefits; credit reporting; suspension of a driver's, occupational, sporting or recreational license; denial or revocation of a passport; or being held in contempt and possible jail time.

Because of the serious consequences associated with a failure to pay child support, parents should be aware of all the family law resources available to help them with their child support concerns. Family law resources can help with both child support enforcement and child support modification concerns and parents should be familiar with what those resources are.

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Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator


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