Most people would agree that children should not be financially punished when their parent’s divorce. So, Hawaii’s income share child support model is designed, in part, to give children the same standard of living they would have ad if their parents remained married. But over half of the nonresidential custodians in the Rainbow State do not pay the full child support amount.
In these situations, the state technically has the right to pursue past-due amounts. But it often takes many months, or even longer, for a short-staffed state agency to get results. Additionally, the lawyer assigned to the case represents the state. That lawyer does not have your family’s best interests at heart.
So, a partnership with a Kamuela divorce lawyer may be a better idea. A private attorney acts quickly to preserve your children’s financial rights. And, a Kamuela divorce lawyer is dedicated to you, and not to some vague concept of child support enforcement. This partnership usually leads to one of the following child support enforcement mechanisms.
Note that withholding visitation is not on this list. It is illegal to deny visitation because the obligor is delinquent. Doing so basically holds the children for ransom.
Attachments and Property Liens
If an obligor (person paying child support) is delinquent, the obligee (person who is owed support) may file a lien or attachment. Generally, Hawaii’s child support law allows obligees to file property liens against the real or personal property at any time. Attachments are usually a bit more complex.
Liens usually do not generate money, or at least not very much money. They are attention-getting devices. For example, if a Kamuela divorce lawyer files a lien on Father’s house, he need not pay it straight away. Instead, before he sells the house, he must satisfy the lien.
Attention-getting devices like these are often effective. Sometimes, a more aggressive action may be akin to pouring gasoline on a smoldering fire.
License Suspension to Receive Past-Due Child Support
Often, Kamuela divorce lawyers start with liens in child support actions. As mentioned, they are easy to acquire. If the lien does not get the obligor’s attention, or the obligee does not feel a lien would be effective, drivers’ or professional license suspension is usually the next step up.
Hawaii law allows both kinds of suspension. Driving on a suspended license is a serious offense in the Rainbow State, as is practicing law, medicine, or other professions without a valid license. Our hypothetical Father might essentially ignore a property lien, but if his law license suddenly becomes invalid, he may reach out to the Kamuela divorce lawyer who filed the suspension action and work out a payment plan.
Many people receive tax refunds in the spring. Other people are entitled to insurance payouts or lottery winnings. If the obligor’s delinquency exceeds a certain amount, a Kamuela divorce lawyer may file a request and intercept these payments.
Typically, these payments are less than a few thousand dollars. So, if the obligor is seriously delinquent, payment intercept will not pay off the entire balance owed. However, payment intercept usually pays a sizeable chunk. This intervention crosses the border between attention-getting and revenue-producing.
Wage Withholding to Speed up Past-Due Child Support
If the obligor has a regular job, a wage withholding order is usually a good idea. There is usually some legwork because most local companies use out-of-state payroll agencies. But, most Kamuela divorce lawyers include dormant wage withholding orders in divorce decrees. They just need to activate them. Legally, the obligee can withhold up to 50 percent of the obligor’s wages.
Alternatively, if the obligor is self-employed, many judges may order the obligor to build a reserve fund as well as repay delinquency. So, in the event of further delinquency, there is some money available.
Contempt of Court
Jail time is usually a last resort. No one wants to see obligors go to jail for not paying child support, especially because such incarceration may be illegal. U.S. law forbids debtors’ prisons.
Still, if the obligor has not responded to earlier collection efforts, jail time may be appropriate. Most people can raise money in a hurry when they are behind bars, even if they owe many thousands of dollars. Typically, a Hawaii County judge orders the obligor to pay about half the balance upfront to get out of jail, and then satisfy the rest through a payment plan.
Contact a Dedicated Kamuela Divorce Attorney
Child support eases the financial pain of divorce for innocent children. For a confidential consultation with an experienced Kamuela divorce lawyer, contact Olson & Sons, L.C. After-hours and home visits are available.