There are a variety of methods parents can use to enforce child support orders when the noncustodial parent becomes delinquent. One of those methods is to seize money from tax refunds or government payments.
Here’s an overview of what you should know.
The Treasury Offset Program allows state child support enforcement agencies to report any parents who become delinquent in child support payments to the U.S. Treasury Department. The Department will then be allowed to intercept federal tax returns or other government payments made to the delinquent parent and apply them to overdue child support instead. If any part of a tax refund is due to the income of a new spouse, that portion can get separated out, and the delinquent spouse’s portion would be sent to the custodial parent.
There are other types of government payments that can also be garnished. One notable recent example is COVID-19 stimulus payments. In spring 2020, Congress passed the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act, a massive stimulus package that provided financial relief to individuals and businesses. Individuals received up to $1200 per person and $500 per child under 17.
These coronavirus stimulus payments can be redirected toward outstanding child support payments. A person who is on the Treasury Offset list would have their stimulus check reduced by the total amount owed. In some cases, this would have been more than the total amount of the stimulus, so the entire stimulus check would have gone toward paying that outstanding child support.
If you’re interested in learning more about the available options to enforce your child support order, contact an experienced Minnesota divorce attorney at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.
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