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Enforcement

Enforcement

In an ideal world, no parent would unnecessarily prevent the other parent from having visitation with their child, and every non-custodial parent would pay child support voluntarily. Of course this does not always happen, and it is often necessary to take steps to enforce a visitation and/or child support order through the court system, a local government agency, or a private attorney.

Visitation orders that clearly identify the duties and responsibilities of the parties, may be enforced by contempt. Failure to abide by these orders could result in the violating parent having to pay a fine, or in severe cases, jail time. Judges may also award the non-violating parent make-up visitation and attorney's fees.

Child support orders are like other types of civil judgments. They can be collected by garnishing the non-custodial parent’s wages, seizing bank accounts and other personal property, or placing a lien on real estate. Special laws also allow past support to be collected from income tax refunds. Delinquent parents may also face suspension of driving privileges, passports, and professional licenses. In severe cases, a judge may decide to impose jail time as a penalty for non-payment.

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