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How can a child support order be enforced in Tennessee?

In recent months, many people have raised concerns about Tennessee's efforts toward the enforcement of child support orders. In fact, a recent incident about a delinquent father prompted many Tennessee residents to speak up regarding the state's efforts. That incident was discussed in a blog post last month. However, the situation may not be as bad as it seems because the state has a fully functional child support department that enforces child support orders through various means and methods.

According to Tennessee laws, the state's Department of Human Services is responsible for aiding custodial parents in enforcing an order if a non-custodial parent is found to be non-compliant with the court's order. The first step that the DHS takes is to contact the employer of the non-custodial parent. The parent's child support obligations are deducted from his or her income by an income withholding order. This method can also be used for recovering delinquent amounts that a non-custodial parent may have toward child support.

There are other methods that the DHS employs for collecting child support from delinquent parents as well. For instance, the department may place liens on property, revoke drivers' licenses, freeze bank accounts, deny passports or report the delinquency to credit bureaus. However, these methods are only applied when the child support delinquency goes beyond reason.

Child support is probably one of the most sensitive areas of family law because it has a direct impact on the best interests of the child. Therefore, delinquency in child support should be avoided at all costs. However, there may be times when a non-custodial parent is unable to meet his or her child support obligations for unavoidable reasons. In such cases, they may seek to modify the order with the help of an experienced family law attorney.

Source:, "Tennessee Child Support Handbook," Accessed on Jan. 15, 2015

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