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Federal efforts aid collection of unpaid child support

New Jersey families can face tough times when they are dealing with delinquent or unpaid child support from the other parent. Child support orders are issued by the court to ensure that the everyday expenses, including educational costs, medical and dental bills and other major expenses, are covered by their parents. Due to the precarious situation of children and the increased social costs that can result from unpaid support orders, state and federal government agencies have prioritized the enforcement and collection of unpaid child support.

One of the most efficient and effective mechanisms that has been developed to collect child support has been the use of automatic withdrawals like wage garnishments or payroll deductions. Though child support guidelines and orders are generally handled at a state level, the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) is a federal agency that works to ensure that local agencies share information and work together to make the enforcement process more efficient. During 2016, the OCSE's programs collected almost $33 billion in child support, and 75 percent of those funds came from payroll deductions.

Now, the OCSE is launching programs in conjunction with employers, payroll professionals and state agencies to enhance the efficiency of the child support collection system. For example, many employers hire workers across the country and in a number of states. By creating a multistate employer registry, OCSE allows these employers to submit all of their reporting at one time, improving regulatory compliance and nationwide identification.

These child support enforcement technologies can have a direct impact on the lives of struggling families. Divorced parents who are dealing with a former partner who refuses to abide by their support obligations may benefit from working with a family law attorney to return to court, seek any necessary modifications and work for implementation and enforcement of the existing child support order.

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