Enforcement of My Support Order

Administrative Enforcement Tools

Income Withholding Orders (IWO)

An IWO is how the CSEA collects child support, cash medical support and the arrears owed on a child support order.  This is how we collect the majority of the money we receive and disburse to cases.

National Medical Support Notice (NMSN)

This notice is sent to employers for the party or parties who are obligated to provide medical coverage for the dependent(s) per the order.

Default

When a case reaches default (one month in arrears), a notice is sent to the obligor advising of the multitude of actions that can be taken now that the case is behind.

Interception of Federal and State Tax Refunds

  • Federal law 98-369, and ORC sections 3123.81 and 3123.822 authorize the CSEA to seize tax refund offsets.
  • The IRS and the CSEA will send the obligor a notice that any tax refunds will be intercepted to pay down the arrears. The obligor may request a hearing with the CSEA to dispute the offset being intercepted.
  • Spouses of obligors who owe child support are able to file an injured spouse claim to have his/her portion of the refund released.
  • IRS Offset: This offset is mandatory, and must be used if a case meets the criteria. To be eligible for the IRS offset, the obligor must owe $500 for unassigned arrears and/or $150 for assigned arrears. Arrears are totaled across all eligible cases.
  • Ohio Offset: To be eligible for the Ohio offset, the obligor must owe $150 across all eligible cases. Weekly updates are generated to the state to advise of deletions and decreasing arrears amounts.

Reporting delinquent parents to Credit Reporting Agencies

  • Federal law 104-193 and ORC section 3123.932 authorizes the CSEA to report arrears to the credit bureaus. Obligors who remain on the default list for two months in a row are reported to the credit bureaus.
  • Obligors must dispute any errors through the reporting bureau. The bureau submits an electronic report to the CSEA and the CSEA will manually review the case to determine what the bureau should be reporting.

Suspension of Driver, Recreational and Professional License

When a case is in default, an obligor’s driver, recreational, or professional license can be suspended.

Bank Account Freeze and Seize

  • Federal laws 104-93 and 105-200 and ORC sections 3121.74 – 3121.78, section 3121.99, and sections 3123.24 – 3123.38 authorize the reporting and seizing of financial accounts.
  • Each quarter, financial institutions are required to report financial assets of obligors who owe past due child support. Any type of financial asset such as checking and savings accounts, IRAs, mutual funds, and stocks can be seized to pay delinquent child support. Joint accounts are also eligible for seizure.
  • Each week, the CSEA reviews a report of all reported financial assets of obligors who are eligible. As long as the obligor is in default, the CSEA is legally allowed to seize the account. This action may be done regardless of whether or not the obligor is currently paying.
  • A directive is sent to the institution to seize the account and forward the funds to the obligor’s child support case. A copy of the directive is sent to the obligor. The funds received from the financial asset are applied to the obligor’s arrearage.

Passport Denial

  • Federal law 104-193 authorizes the CSEA to block passports on obligors who owe past due child support.
  • The obligor must be in arrears of at least $2500. Arrears are totaled across all eligible cases. The State Department will place a block on the obligor’s passport. There are ways for the obligor to have the passport blocked released.
  • For leisure travel, the obligor is required to pay the arrears in full.
  • For employment or business travel, the obligor is required to provide documentation on company letterhead and current or prospective employment information or information about funds on deposit in a financial institution for withholding purposes and either pay off all the arrears or pay the arrears so that the balance across all cases falls below $2500.
  • If the obligor is a member of the military whose passport is being issued by a special issuance agency of DOS, the military member or the authorized representative must provide military travel papers or military orders.

Casino/Racino/Lottery Jackpot intercept

ORC sections 3121.12, 3123.90, 3770.071, & 3770.073 authorizes the CSEA to seize jackpot winnings on obligors who are in default.  The obligor must be in default to have jackpot winning seized. This process is automated at the state level and matches are done in real time.

Legal Enforcement Tools

Lump Sums

  • ORC section 3121.12 authorizes the CSEA to withhold lump sums exceeding $150. The obligor does not have to be in default to have a lump sum seized as any arrearage makes the case eligible. Lump sums from Worker’s Compensation, Social Security, employers, insurance settlements, Unclaimed Funds (ex. bonuses, benefit payouts), and various other sources may be held.
  • The CSEA will send a notice to the institution/employer and the obligor that the lump sum is going to be held. The agency will then prepare a court order and forward the order to the overseeing court for approval. Once the order is finalized, a copy of it is sent to the institution/employer that is issuing the lump sum and the obligor.

Motion to Seek Work

Instead of ordering the court to outright make payments on his/her child support case or face jail time, the court may order a Seek Work order which simply orders the defendant to apply for jobs and provide proof by submitting copies of the applications to the Prosecutors Office.

Motion to Show/Contempt

When an obligor has failed to pay his/her child support for 90 days, both parties reside in the state of Ohio (unless the case is Interstate), we have verified location for both parties and there is no pending legal action, the case can be reviewed for Contempt action. When a caseworker is referring a case for Contempt, the worker is requesting the Prosecutors Office to file Motion to Show (Cause) in front of Domestic Relations Court asking the obligor/defendant “to Show Cause” as to why he/she is not paying child support. The court will set a date for the hearing, the hearing will be held (if the defendant shows) or a warrant will be issued (if the defendant fails to show). Purge specifications will be set and a hearing date will be set for a future date.

Criminal Non Support/Felony Non Support

This type of action is taken case by case and is reviewed by the Prosecutors Office as well as the Criminal Division of the Prosecutors Office.

Intergovernmental Action

Just as there are many types of child support cases, there are many types of Intergovernmental cases, it would be impossible to give examples of all of situations that could arise.  There are two basic categories, Initiating and Responding cases, described below.  These cover general types of situations just to explain the basic premise of these types of cases.

Initiating

When the client and child reside in Ohio and the obligor resides outside of Ohio and has failed to pay his/her child support obligation, the case can be reviewed for intergovernmental action.  As long we have a valid address for the obligor in another state and there is no medical reason for nonpayment and no pending legal action, Ohio can request the state in which he/she resides to register the tribunal (controlling order) for enforcement.  This means that we (Medina County) are asking another county to legally enforce the child support order using their enforcement measures. Not only can they garnish the person’s wages or suspend his/her license, but they can also take the obligor to court for not paying support.

Responding

This case is the exact opposite of initiating cases.  In this type of case the client and the child live outside of Ohio and the obligor lives in Medina County.  The obligor is not paying support and the state in which the client resides requests our help in collecting support. We will then register their order in our court and enforce it just like it’s our order.

Collection of Unclaimed Funds

The CSEA can request an unclaimed fund be directed to pay towards arrears owed on a child support case.

I don’t agree with what’s in my Divorce/Dissolution Order

Any divorce actions, including but not limited to child support, medical support, custody, visitation, property settlements, must be handled/filed in court.


 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is an Income Withholding Order/Wage Garnishment?

A majority of support collected is collected through income withholding orders. The CSEA may send an income withholding order to an employer as well as other sources of income. These other sources of income include but aren’t limited to bank funds, unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation and some social security benefits, pensions and lottery winnings.

What is a Default?

When an obligor is behind by his or her support obligation by one month, the case is then in default.  When a case is in default, the Notice to Obligor of Default and Potential Action is mailed to the obligor advising the CSEA is required to issue a garnishment that includes a payment on arrears that equals 20% of the current support obligation.  The notice also provides additional enforcement actions that can be taken to collect the arrearage owed.  These actions include but are not limited to: reporting the arrearage amount to a credit reporting agency, imposing a lien on real and personal property, referring cases to a collection agency, restricting and withdrawing money from any account held at any financial institution, proposing suspension of a driver, recreational or professional license, etc.

Is My Case Going to get a Tax Refund?

  • Federal law 98-369, and ORC sections 3123.81 and 3123.822 authorize the CSEA to seize tax refund offsets.
  • The IRS and the CSEA will send the obligor a notice that any tax refunds will be intercepted to pay down the arrears. The obligor may request a hearing with the CSEA to dispute the offset being intercepted.
  • Spouses of obligors who owe child support are able to file an injured spouse claim to have his/her portion of the refund released.
  • IRS Offset: This offset is mandatory, and must be used if a case meets the criteria. To be eligible for the IRS offset, the obligor must owe $500 for unassigned arrears and/or $150 for assigned arrears. Arrears are totaled across all eligible cases.
  • Ohio Offset: To be eligible for the Ohio offset, the obligor must owe $150 across all eligible cases. Weekly updates are generated to the state to advise of deletions and decreasing arrears amounts.

Why is the Tax Offset on Hold?

If a refund is filed jointly, the CSEA will hold the refund for six (6) months which gives the spouse of the obligor ample time to file an injured spouse claim to have his or her portion of the refund released. If, however, a joint refund is received and the obligor and his or her spouse would like the entire payment disbursed to the case to pay towards the arrears, our payment department will happily help with that.

You intercepted my Joint Income Tax Refund, Now What?

If your spouse wants to claim his/her portion of the refund, he/she could file an Injured Spouse Form.  If, however, a joint refund is received and you and your spouse would like the entire payment disbursed to the case to pay towards the arrears before the six month time period, our payment department will happily help with that. Weekly updates are generated to the Internal Revenue Service to advise of deletions.

What about Medical Coverage/National Medical Support Notice?

When a party to the case is ordered to provide medical coverage for the child(ren), a National Medical Support Notice (NMSN) is sent to the obligor’s employer.  Either party, neither party, or both parties to the case can be responsible for medical coverage at any given time of the order’s life.  Every order has the specific wording it in which states who is ordered to provide medical coverage. A Notice of Medical Support Enforcement Activity (NMSEA) is sent with every NMSN which allows the Medical Coverage obligor to request a hearing or provide proof of Alternate Insurance (e.g., through a spouse or union or independent coverage not through the employer).

What is this Cash Medical/Medical Support Payment?

Ohio requires all child support orders to order the payor and/or the payee to obtain and/or maintain available private health insurance coverage that is at a reasonable cost. It also adds the requirement that if there comes a time during that order when private insurance coverage can’t be maintained at an affordable cost, the obligor must pay cash medical support.  The order will contain two child support obligation amounts, an amount when medical coverage is being provided and an amount when medical coverage is not being provided, and a cash medical amount. The cash medical amount will be paid to whomever is carrying the medical coverage, whether that’s another parent, a person with whom the child resides, or a public entity (Medicaid through the state of Ohio).  It is to be noted that if the payor’s annual gross income is below 150% of the federal poverty level for an individual at the time that the child support order is issued or modified, cash medical support will be set at $0.00.

What about my Credit Report?

  • Federal law 104-193 and ORC section 3123.932 authorizes the CSEA to report arrears to the credit bureaus. Obligors who remain on the default list for two months in a row are reported to the credit bureaus.
  • Obligors must dispute any errors through the reporting bureau. The bureau submits an electronic report to the CSEA and the CSEA will manually review the case to determine what the bureau should be reporting.

I WON THE LOTTERY!

We are just as excited, trust me!  ORC sections 3121.12, 3123.90, 3770.071, & 3770.073 authorizes the CSEA to seize jackpot winnings on obligors who are in default.  The obligor must be in default to have jackpot winning seized. This process is automated at the state level and matches are done in real time.

What about Social Security Benefits?

We can garnish child support from Social Security Disability and Social Security Retirement.  We cannot garnish from Social Security Income.  We have always suggested and will keep suggesting that if you ever learn that the father/mother of your child is receiving any type of social security benefit, apply for child benefits at your local social security office.

What about Benefits through the VA?

VA Benefits cannot be garnished.  There may be a process in which the custodial parent can apply for child support through the Veteran Affairs but the client would have to proceed with that action on his or her own.

I need my Passport!

  • Federal law 104-193 authorizes the CSEA to block passports on obligors who owe past due child support.
  • The obligor must be in arrears of at least $2500. Arrears are totaled across all eligible cases. The State Department will place a block on the obligor’s passport. There are ways for the obligor to have the passport blocked released.
  • For leisure travel, the obligor is required to pay the arrears in full.
  • For employment or business travel, the obligor is required to provide documentation on company letterhead and current or prospective employment information or information about funds on deposit in a financial institution for withholding purposes and either pay off all the arrears or pay the arrears so that the balance across all cases falls below $2500.
  • If the obligor is a member of the military whose passport is being issued by a special issuance agency of DOS, the military member or the authorized representative must provide military travel papers or military orders.

License Suspensions

The CSEA can suspend your driver, recreational and professional license if you are in default on your child support order.  All obligors are notified through the default process that their license can be suspended if their case is in default. While the suspension of a motor vehicle operator’s license is the most widely used of the three, recreational (e.g., hunting, fishing and watercraft) licenses and professional (e.g., cosmetology, sanitation, etc.) licenses can be suspended as well.  The suspension and reinstatement process for each of these are taken on a case by case basis.

Bank Account Freeze and Seize

  • Federal laws 104-93 and 105-200 and ORC sections 3121.74 – 3121.78, section 3121.99, and sections 3123.24 – 3123.38 authorize the reporting and seizing of financial accounts.
  • Each quarter, financial institutions are required to report financial assets of obligors who owe past due child support. Any type of financial asset such as checking and savings accounts, IRAs, mutual funds, and stocks can be seized to pay delinquent child support. Joint accounts are also eligible for seizure.
  • Each week, the CSEA reviews a report of all reported financial assets of obligors who are eligible. As long as the obligor is in default, the CSEA is legally allowed to seize the account. This action may be done regardless of whether or not the obligor is currently paying.
  • A directive is sent to the institution to seize the account and forward the funds to the obligor’s child support case. A copy of the directive is sent to the obligor. The funds received from the financial asset are applied to the obligor’s arrearage.

I don’t agree with what’s in my Divorce/Dissolution Order

Any divorce actions, including but not limited to child support, medical support, custody, visitation, property settlements, must be handled/filed in court.