Most "custodial" parents, the parent with whom a child lives most of the time, receive regular child support on time and in the right amount every month from the other parent, the "noncustodial" or "paying" parent. However, some noncustodial parents don’t pay the child support they owe on time, don’t pay the full amount owed, or don’t pay at all.
This article gives an overview of the ways in which you can enforce your child support order and collect overdue payments if the noncustodial parent lives in Alaska and isn’t making payments on time. If you still have questions after reading this article, you should consult with an Alaska family law attorney.
For general information about obtaining an order, child support guidelines, and other issues related to child support, read the article Child Support in Alaska.
The payment of child support by noncustodial parents is a matter of concern for the both the states and the federal government. All 50 states and the United States federal government have laws to help custodial parents get paid the child support they are owed and provide assistance to do it.
In Alaska, the Child Support Services Division (CSSD) of the Alaska State Department of Revenue helps custodial parents establish paternity, establish child support orders, and enforce child support orders. The Enforcement Section of CSSD helps collect already established child support orders when the noncustodial parent lives in Alaska. All you have to do to obtain help from CSSD is to complete and submit an application for services to CSSD.
Alternatively, you can hire a private attorney to go to court on your behalf and ask a family law judge to enforce your child support order and issue new orders aimed at collecting overdue payments. A private attorney will charge an hourly fee, but if you can afford to do so, hiring a lawyer may be more efficient, especially if your local CSSD office is backlogged in cases.
When you are not receiving court-ordered child support payments, you can seek assistance from the CSSD enforcement section. The enforcement section can use the following tools to help get you the child support you are owed:
All of these tools are called “administrative actions.” This means that CSSD can take these actions without having to go to court. However, CSSD does have to notify the noncustodial parent of the action they're going to take and give the noncustodial parent 15 days to file a written request for an administrative review to contest the action.
However, if there is a valid order for child support, the noncustodial parent is the person who owes the support, and the required amount is past due, CSSD will proceed. When the noncustodial parent pays enough or all of the child support owed, CSSD will lift the restriction(s).
If you don't seek the help of CSSD, you (or your attorney) can ask a court to help you enforce your child support order. In this situation, you can file a Motion and Affidavit to Enforce Order (Form SHC-1540) along with the Order on Motion (Form SHC-1302). The judge will hold a hearing to question the noncustodial parent about why child support hasn’t been paid.
A judge has the authority to use the same enforcement tools available to CSSD, like withholding from income and restricting licenses. Additionally, if you ask, the court can also hold the noncustodial parent in “contempt of court.” Being held in “contempt of court” means that the court has determined that the noncustodial parent intentionally disobeyed a court order by not paying child support. When the court finds someone in contempt, it can order various punishments, including fines and even jail time.
For more information, including contact information and forms, check out the Alaska Child Support Services Division website.