There Are Multiple Methods to Collect Child Support
Video Transcribed: How does child support get paid if my ex goes to jail? My name is James Wirth, and I am an attorney in Tulsa, Oklahoma. And that is the question: How do I collect on my child support if my ex goes to jail? And the answer is, generally speaking, you can’t. It’s going to be difficult.
So child support is a judgment. It’s an automatic judgment. So you can try to enforce it and collect on that judgment, just like any other civil judgment, except it’s usually easier for child support. So that means that you can garnish wages. But if somebody’s in jail, there’s not going to be any wages to garnish, which means you can levy bank accounts.
If they’ve got a bank account in their name, you could put a levy on that. So that may or may not apply to somebody who’s in jail. If they’re getting a tax return, you can request through DHS, if DHS is involved, that they try to intercept funds from a federal tax return. That may apply to somebody who’s in jail but may not be applicable.
If they have assets in real estate, you can try to go after those assets and put a lien on that real estate. So those are ways that you could collect it. Generally speaking, if we’re trying to collect on somebody who’s not paying child support, the easiest thing to do is garnish wages.
If they’re not working, the next thing will be a contempt citation where you allege they’re violating the court order, and they should be thrown in jail for up to six months. If they don’t get caught up, that works pretty well for people out, and the world doesn’t work as well for people in custody. So probably not going to work in that scenario.
So practically speaking, for cases that we see where the opposing party ends up going to jail, it can be very difficult to collect on the child support while they are in jail because most of the time, they don’t have those assets lying around. They’re not working, and they don’t care about contempt so much. However, child support is never discharged in bankruptcy and never goes away. Doesn’t expire. So child support will continue to accrue.
Although if they’re in prison for a long enough amount of time, I believe after six months under a new law, it now puts a hold on that child support. But regardless, the back child support will still be out there, future child support when they’re out of custody or if they were in custody for less than 180 days.
When they get out, it will be there waiting for them, and you will have those same means to try to enforce once they’re out of custody. So hopefully, that answers your question related to that issue. Suppose you have other issues related to family law in Oklahoma or other legal issues in Oklahoma. In that case, you will want to talk to a Tulsa family law attorney about that privately and confidentially. To do so, visit makelaweasy.com