All over Tennessee there are folks who are raising children on their own, who ought to be receiving child support from their former spouse or partner. Both parents have an obligation to support their child financially. If one parent is not paying child support, that leaves the remaining parent shouldering all of the responsibility to support the child. Sometimes it becomes necessary to take extra steps in order to locate the non-custodial parent who has shirked his or her responsibility.
Tips and resources for locating a “deadbeat” parent
Fortunately, there are many resources available to help parents who have residential custody of their child find a missing parent. On the federal level, there is the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS), which is a part of the Office of Child Support Enforcement, which helps state and local child support offices track down deadbeat parents. The Office of Child Support Enforcement has a website with State and Tribal Child Support Agency Contacts that has links to resources and information to help locate a missing parent who owes child support. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 has expanded the reach of FPLS’s services, which now includes a National Directory of New Hires and a Federal Case Registry of Support Orders. The FPLS checks the data in the new hires directory and matches it to state agencies, which can be helpful in finding parents who have moved and sought new employment in a different area or even in another state.
The Federal Parent Locator Service can be very helpful to custodial parents as it helps locate the missing non-custodial parent without the need to hire a private investigator, which can be costly.
Consequences for non-payment of child support in Tennessee
In Tennessee if the non-paying parent is located and the court rules that he or she has violated a child support order, that parent can be held in contempt of court, ordered to pay the other parent’s attorney fees and in some cases they can be ordered to serve up to six months in jail.
There are also several options that the court and DCSS can use to enforce court-ordered child support which include:
- Wage withholding
- Seizing bank accounts
- Revocation of driver’s license and other professional licenses
- Reporting the debt to credit collection agencies
- Placing of liens against real estate or other property
Working with a family lawyer is a good first step for child support enforcement efforts. Parents who are considering a divorce can schedule a consultation with a compassionate, Knoxville divorce attorney at LaFevor & Slaughter to discuss child custody and support issues in your case.