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State looks to track down unpaid child support

Delaware Public Media

State justice officials are trying to secure more payments from people who don’t pay their required child support.  


Delaware law requires both parents to support a child until they are 18 or 19— but not everyone who is obligated to pay child support does. 

Delaware Department of Justice officials say they are working to reach out to some who are not paying and persuade them to voluntarily surrender and begin resolving their debts. 

DOJ says it has located twenty individuals who together owe more than a million dollars in unpaid child support payments. The targeting initiative started in New Castle County and is expanding into Kent and Sussex.

“Our goal is first and foremost to support families and kids who depend on child support,” said Abigail Rodgers Layton, director of DOJ's Family Division, in a statement. “Child support payments can be the only thing standing between children of single parents and poverty, so when someone abandons their obligations, they are not only putting themselves at risk of arrest, they’re also hurting their kids and the community."


Usual consequences for unpaid child support include license suspension, incarceration or, most often, wage garnishment, according to the Delaware Courts. Parents who experience a significant change in circumstances — like loss of a job or health problems — can file a petition for child support modification with the courts.


A Delaware law signed earlier this summer requires employers with 50 or more employees to send garnished child support payments to the Division of Child Support Services electronically — to get payments to custodial parents faster.  

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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