This is the next post in my series which seeks to educate Las Vegas single parents who wish to file for child support for the first time or file against a parent who has failed to make payments. My last post touched on the issue of when it may be in a parent’s best interest to waive one’s rights to child support. In this post I will discuss an issue which can be frustrating – filing for child support when a parent’s location is not known.
When a parent wishes to collect child support they may either go through the Family Court system, or go through the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. The state department is available to those parents who do not have the money to pay an attorney and within their division is the Child Support Enforcement (CSE) unit. This unit is charged with the task of locating missing parents as well as enforcing parents to pay the child support they have been ordered to pay by the Court. In theory if a parent does not know a parent’s location then CSE can track that parent down and work with other states if need be to collect owed arrearages and enforce future payments.
In reality this does not always happen. CSE does not have unlimited resources and is often overwhelmed with cases. It can be difficult to locate a parent who does not want to be found, particularly if that parent does not own property, frequently changes jobs, does not hold any professional licenses, does not hold a legal driver’s license, or changes their name. If a parent has the means it can be cost effective to hire an attorney with an investigator, or hire one’s own private investigator, to track the deadbeat parent down. Once a parent is located then child support judgements can be enforced through a number of ways, particularly if the parent is currently employed.
While hiring a lawyer can be frustrating to locate a parent it is important to remember that it becomes harder to collect money from a parent the longer a debt is outstanding. While child support debts will technically continue to accumulate, in many cases, even if a parent is found years later, they do not have the means to satisfy the debt. In most cases waiting for the CSE to track down a missing parent is not an expedient way to collect the money that is owed.
If you are owed child support and do not know where your child’s biological parent has moved to, you may wish to discuss your options with an attorney. Contact our family law office today for a consultation.