How does Massachusetts enforce child support payments?

On Behalf of | Nov 28, 2023 | Modifications And Enforcement

Child support protects the financial well-being of children after a divorce or separation. In Massachusetts, legal consequences apply when a parent fails to pay court-ordered child support.

Understanding the enforcement methods used in cases of non-payment helps parents navigate their post-divorce financial responsibilities.

Income withholding

One common enforcement method is income withholding. The state deducts child support payments directly from the noncustodial parent’s paycheck. This helps guarantee regular and timely payments, reducing the risk of non-compliance.

Driver’s license suspension

Massachusetts has the authority to suspend the driver’s license of a parent who falls behind on child support payments. This approach motivates compliance by impacting an essential aspect of the parent’s life. The court may lift the suspension when the parent becomes current on support.

Property liens

To secure unpaid child support, the state can place liens on the noncustodial parent’s property. This includes real estate and other valuable assets. Liens act as a legal claim on the property. The person cannot sell or refinance the assets in question without settling the lien.

Contempt of court

If a parent consistently fails to meet child support obligations, the court may find them in contempt. Contempt of court carries legal consequences, including fines or imprisonment. Incarceration serves as a last resort to enforce child support compliance.

The average custodial parent in Massachusetts receives $1,127 per month, reflecting the substantial cost of raising children in the state.  You can seek assistance from the Child Support Enforcement Division if you need help with child support enforcement.