For many divorced parents, every support payment is critical for ensuring they have the financial resources to meet their children’s basic needs. Unfortunately, too often ex-partners choose not to honor their parental and legal responsibilities.

When a noncustodial parent fails to meet support obligations, Delaware’s Division of Child Support Services may use a variety of measures to enforce and collect payments.

Recovery of support through garnishment

Most often, the DDCS recovers support from the noncustodial parent by deducting payments from his or her wages. However, there are also other forms of income garnishment. The DDCS may intercept state and/or federal tax returns as well as benefit checks, such as unemployment or workers’ compensation. Additionally, if a parent owes $150 or more in past-due support, the state may withhold lottery winnings.

Penalties for nonpayment

The DDCS may also take punitive measures against a parent who fails to make support payments. The noncustodial parent may face license suspension, including his or her driver’s license as well as any business, occupational or state recreational licenses. Additionally, if the parent owes at least $2,500 in past due payments, he or she may be subject to passport denial.

Finally, if the noncustodial parent owes $1,000 or more in missed or late payments, the DDCS may submit support debt to various consumer reporting agencies, which could significantly affect his or her credit rating.

Child support modification

Whether due to a job loss, medical issue or other unforeseen events, in some cases changes in circumstances may make it difficult for a noncustodial parent to meet the original support order. When this happens, either parent may request a modification of support payments.