When working for themselves or getting paid under the table, some parents may think they do not have to fulfill their child support obligations. However, self-employment does not wash away their financial responsibilities to their children.
Several of the state’s enforcement action options may affect self-employed parents and compel them to stay current on their obligations.
Income withholding or allotments
According to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, the department may arrange for income withholdings or allotments for self-employed parents. However, not all circumstances allow for this option.
Liens or garnishments
Instead of withholding amounts from self-employed parents’ income to apply to their child support obligations, the state may pursue liens or garnishments. The DOR may garnish all or a portion of the funds in noncustodial parents’ bank accounts if they owe past-due support. Further, the DOR may place liens on payments self-employed parents receive from regular clients, garnishing these funds to apply to their child support arrears.
According to the DOR, the state may refer past-due child support to credit reporting agencies. Such action may have effects, which include, for example, impairing the ability of the parent in arrears to secure lines of credit or other financings for their businesses.
The DOR may also take action to suspend self-employed parents’ professional licenses if they owe past-due child support. If people have their occupational licenses suspended by the state for nonpayment of child support, they may lose the right to work. For instance, if the DOR suspends a contractor’s license for failing to pay child support, the contractor may have to put off or cancel projects until he or she resolves the issue.
Tracking down payments from self-employed parents who fall behind on child support may prove challenging. However, many self-employed parents may choose to fulfill their financial responsibilities rather than potentially risk their businesses due to child support nonpayment.