TN Child Support Enforcement: Collection of Child Support
TN child support enforcement laws can be tricky for those inexperienced in child support law. Once child support has been set by the judge, the determined amount of child support that is to be paid monthly then becomes a legal Order of the Court. In the event that the child support is not paid in its full amount, or paid in a timely manner, the parent who owes the child support may be found in contempt of court, which often results in jail time.
Tennessee judges require by law that their orders are strictly adhered to and will accept very little to no excuses if someone has failed to accomplish what has been ordered of them to do. Though Contempt is often the enforcement action executed in response to the failure of one parent to pay child support, there also exists other criminal statutes as well as license regulations which may be utilized.
Types of Contempt in Tennessee
TN Child Support Enforcement is most often accomplished by charging an individual with contempt. But what is contempt? Read ahead to learn about how one may be held in contempt following their failure to pay child support.
Contempt can be broken down into two primary facets: criminal contempt and civil contempt. Criminal contempt is, to a certain extent, a criminal proceeding which is taken in order to protect the authority and rectitude of the court by penalizing those who disobey an order of the court. If an individual is found in criminal contempt, they can be sentenced to up to 10 days of jail time as well as a fine of $50 for each violation.
On the other hand, civil contempt is a civil court proceeding which has been brought about in order to enforce compliance with an order of the court. Those who are found guilty of civil contempt may be jailed until they are able to comply with the order.
Non-support & Flagrant Non-support
While being held in contempt of court may result in arrest, there are also other methods of accomplishing TN child support enforcement.
In addition to being held in contempt of court, an individual may also be placed under criminal arrest for nonsupport. In Tennessee, nonsupport is considered a class A misdemeanor, which can carry a sentence of jail time of up to 11 months and 29 days, as well as fines of up to $2,500, is defined as the failure of a person to provide the support which that individual has the ability to provide and is aware of their responsibility to provide for a minor child, or, in some cases, to a child or spouse who is not capable of being self-supporting due to a physical or mental disability.
In the event that the parent who has been ordered to pay child support also has a previous conviction for nonsupport or has fled the state in an attempt to evade payment of their child support, then that individual may be charged with flagrant nonsupport. Flagrant nonsupport, in comparison, is a Class E felony, which can carry anywhere from 1 to 6 years in prison as well as a fine of up to $5,000.
Speak with an Experienced Contempt Attorney
Are you facing charges of criminal or civil contempt? Our attorneys are ready to help you traverse the complex landscape of Tennessee contempt law. Contact us today to schedule your FREE initial consultation!
Enforcement of Licensure Revocation
Finally, TN child support enforcement may entail the revocation of one’s driver’s or professional licensure.
Lastly, an individual’s inability to pay child support in a timely manner can also result in the suspension their driver’s license and/or professional license (such as the case for contractors, doctors, lawyers, or other professional realms which involve licensure) until the time that the child support can be paid in full. Additionally, one can have their passport revoked entirely or denied from travel in the event that an outstanding child support balance is in existence.
Tax refunds (both state and federal) may also be intercepted and have the balance applied to outstanding child support obligations. Most commonly, though, judges will require the administrative revocation of the person in question’s driver’s license in cases where they fail to pay child support timely.
Hire the Best in Tennessee Child Custody
At Nashville Law Offices, PLLC, our team of experienced child support lawyers are intimately familiar with the processes involved in enforcement of child support payments. Speaking with a child support attorney is the first step in determining the best method of collecting child support on your behalf. Contact our office by phone or fill out a form online to schedule your FREE initial consultation with a Tennessee Child Support Lawyer!