Referrals are sent from the Family Support Division (FSD) to this office requesting enforcement of child support orders that have already been established by either a divorce decree or other type of judicial action. When the referral is received, the Assistant Prosecuting Attorney reviews referral and determines the appropriate legal action that needs to be taken.
Order to Show Cause
One option for enforcement is to file an Order to Show Cause. The Order to Show Cause requires the person that owes the support (the non-custodial parent) to appear in court and explain why they should not by held in contempt for failure to pay the court ordered child support. The custodial parent will receive notification of the date and time of the hearing and a letter explaining the procedure.
In order for the hearing to take place the non-custodial parent must be personally served with the motion and order at least seven days prior to the hearing date. If service cannot be obtained, this office will attempt to locate the non-custodial parent and file another motion or Order to Show Cause.
Simply because a hearing is held, it does not mean that the non-custodial parent will be found in contempt and put in jail. Generally, the court will allow the non-custodial parent to begin making payments and to establish a payment record. The hearing will be continued to another date in order to allow the non-custodial parent time to comply with the order. The hearing may be continued many times if this will ensure that the non-custodial parent pays. The custodial parent will receive notice of all court dates.
Failure to Make Payments
If the non-custodial parent chooses not to comply with the Order to Show Cause and fails to make the required payments, they may be found in contempt and sentenced to serve a period of time in jail. The finding of contempt and the length of time spent in jail are decisions for the court.
Failure to Appear
If the non-custodial parent does not appear, the court will issue a Writ of Body Attachment for failure to appear. There will be a cash-only bond set that equals the amount of the arrearage owed. The Body Attachment will stay active until the non-custodial parent is arrested or the writ is withdrawn.