If you're engaged in a child support order, you may find yourself wondering how exactly Tennessee enforces delinquency in child support payments. Today, we're covering what you can expect if you or a co-parent falls behind on child support.
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The Consequences of Child Support Delinquency in TN
The Tennessee Division of Child Support Services (DCSS), is in charge of tracking child support payments and arrangements between co-parents in Tennessee. If your co-parent refuses to pay for support that they legally owe, report the support delinquency to the DCSS. In many cases, the DCSS automatically deducts support payments from the payor's accounts or paychecks, and will already know about the delinquency.
Family courts in Tennessee can hold individuals who fail to pay for support in contempt of court. As a result, the delinquent parent may be responsible for paying fines, including missed support, to their co-parent, or may be sentenced to jail time.
However, the court may choose not to hold a parent in contempt of court if it would only lessen the chances of the support recipient receiving repayment. Instead, the DCSS or court may:
- Withhold wages or income from the payor until their delinquency is compensated for;
- Seize assets to repay missed support payments;
- Intercept a tax refund to repay the recipient;
- Revoke the payor's driver's or professional licenses until they compensate the recipient;
- Report the delinquency to credit agencies, lessening the delinquent payor's credit; or
- Impose a lien on the payor's personal property.
If you're a delinquent child support payor, you should report your reasons for failing to pay support to a family law court or the DCSS as soon as possible. If you cannot feasibly pay for support or recently suffered a substantial change in circumstances, you may be able to receive a support order modification lessening the amount of support you owe.