Any work to collect child support is considered enforcement. So any process for collecting payments is an enforcement tool.
We also use enforcement tools on cases with past-due child support.
In Utah, when you fall behind on child support payments, your child support becomes a judgment. Paying your past-due support in full will settle the judgment completely.
If you cannot pay in full right now, contact ORS to set up a payment agreement. The agreement will cover the amount of child support you owe each month, with extra added to pay off your past-due support.
Enforcement Tools and Past-Due Child Support
ORS has many enforcement tools to collect past-due child support.
Some enforcement tools kick in automatically, even when you are paying according to a payment schedule.
We use other tools for cases without a payment schedule or when the payments will not pay the debt in full over time.
Applicants for child support services do not get to select which collection tools we will use.
Automatic Enforcement Tools
The following enforcement tools start automatically when you owe certain amounts of past-due support. Most of these tools apply even if you are making payments:
- Intercept your federal tax refund or other federal payments due to you
- Intercept your state tax refunds
- Intercept payments due to you from state or local government agencies, such as unemployment benefits or workers’ compensation
- Report past-due support to credit bureaus and to District Courts
- Place liens on your property
- Deny, restrict, limit, or revoke a passport
- Suspend some recreational licenses, such as hunting or fishing
Other Enforcement Tools
We can also take these types of actions to collect past-due child support:
- Place a lien to take money from your bank account
- Suspend driver’s licenses
- Suspend professional, occupational, and other types of licenses
Court Actions to Enforce Child Support
Sometimes we ask the courts to help collect past-due support.
If your case meets certain legal conditions, we may start civil contempt proceedings. If the court does hold you in contempt, you can face a variety of sanctions, including community service or even short-term incarceration.
In Utah, you can also be prosecuted for criminal nonsupport. If we determine that the conditions for prosecution have been met and that no other enforcement tool will work, ORS may refer cases to the Utah Attorney General’s Office for possible criminal prosecution.
Independent Criminal Nonsupport Prosecution
In Utah, some county attorneys and district attorneys will prosecute criminal nonsupport cases. When this happens, these attorneys are acting independently of ORS.
In these cases, ORS will provide payment histories, copies of child support orders, or other limited information that we can release in line with federal and state privacy regulations.
If the prosecutor secures a conviction or plea agreement, the support debt will likely become a criminal restitution judgment owed to the victim. This change effectively prevents ORS from collecting these debts as part of the Title IV-D program.
The prosecuting attorney should explain what collection options remain available in line with Utah law, such as the court system or the Office of State Debt Collection.