I am behind in my child support payments. Can the judge or state child support enforcement agency require me to post a bond or assets?
Depending on where you live, a judge or the state child support enforcement agency could require you to post a bond to guarantee payment of child support arrears.
Some states allow judges to require parents with child support arrears to post a bond or assets, such as stock certificates, to guarantee payment. In some states, for example, if a self-employed parent misses a child support payment and the custodial parent requests a court hearing, the court can order the noncustodial parent to post assets (such as by putting money into an escrow account).
Most states’ child support enforcement agencies have the power to require parents to post bonds or assets. But not all agencies use this measure, and others use it for extreme cases only. In practice, few bond companies will write bonds for child support debts. Most parents will find that they must put property into an escrow account or, in some states, into a trust account that is managed and invested for the child’s benefit.
You must be given notice of the action seeking to require you to post assets or a bond and have an opportunity to oppose it. You may have a good defense if posting the assets or bond would impair your ability to pay your current support or to borrow money to pay the arrears.
To learn about other ways the government or your child's other parent can collect child support from you, see our Enforcement of Child Support Obligations area.
This is an excerpt from Nolo's Solve Your Money Troubles: Debt, Credit & Bankruptcy, by Margaret Reiter and Robin Leonard.