This introductory guide is meant to serve as a brief overview to some of the key tactics a parent can employ to help bolster the chances of successfully enforcing the collection of monies rightfully owed from a child support judgment.
Ten Guerilla Tactics for Child Support Enforcement 1 Ten Guerilla Tactics For Child Support Enforcement: By Jennifer Young www.MostWantedDeadbeats.com Ten Guerilla Tactics for Child Support Enforcement 2 About the “10 Guerilla Tactics for Child Support Enforcement” eBook This introductory guide is meant to serve as a brief overview to some of the key tactics a parent can employ to help bolster the chances of successfully enforcing the collection of monies rightfully owed from a child support judgment. These are relatively simple measures that anyone can take into their own hands. One can also retain the services of an attorney, private investigator or private collection agency to assist in such tactics, but such assistance is not necessary. In fact, I strongly recommend avoiding private collection agencies as they often work on contingency (no money up front), but will end up demanding a large percentage of the funds they collect- funds that are rightfully owed to you. The only requirement to successfully pursue these tactics is a strong desire to do whatever it takes to legally ensure your child’s welfare. Follow the tactics below and you will begin to notice significant positive momentum in resolving your case favorably. There are laws available to protect you. The best advice I can offer is to dig deep and find the inner strength required to confront the challenges of collecting child support directly and purposefully. We encourage you to empower yourself with any-and-all, legally obtained information that can expedite collection in your favor. This guide- along with additional free and premium resources found at MosWantedDeadbeats.com- can serve as an invaluable tool capable of saving you significant time and money throughout your enforcement journey. And trust that the MostWantedDeadbeats.com community will always be here as a support system and vocal advocate on behalf of custodial parents like you. We encourage you to visit our website to learn more. www.MostWantedDeadBeats.com www.MostWantedDeadbeats.com Ten Guerilla Tactics for Child Support Enforcement 3 1 Post a “Deadbeat” profile to help collect information that can assist enforcement. It is your burden to collect information that will lead to enforcement. Having an informative website on your “deadbeat” is like having your own private investigator, except at a fraction of the price! You can’t be in more than one place at one time, but the internet never sleeps. Having a presence on the web enables you to reach a broader audience by posting relevant information to your case that is easily searchable via search engines. The time and financial cost to startup and maintain your own website can be prohibitive. But our simple deadbeat profile was designed to be a cost effective, fast tool for you to attract attention and information for your case- especially given the high visibility of the MostWantedDeadBeat.com website on the internet. Once you create a profile on our site, you can request any and all information that will assist your case to be submitted as a “Deadbeat” tip. The only way anyone will know that you need help in your search for relevant information to your case is by asking? Make your request professional, clean and public so others can assist you. We believe people are innately good and want to help. You never know who might stumble across your profile and provide the key piece of information that may make or break your case. Information submitted by the public to the original “deadbeat” website that I posted about my “deadbeat” proved critical in winning my case. Ultimately, the number one tool you have in your case is information and you can gain an even deeper level of public awareness that can boost information gathering by simply posting a profile via the MostWantedDeadbeat.com site without having to take the time or incurring hundreds of dollars and time to build an informational site on your own. Get started now here: http://mostwanteddeadbeats.com/membership www.MostWantedDeadbeats.com Ten Guerilla Tactics for Child Support Enforcement 4 2 Use local Child Support Services, even if you hire an attorney! Child Support Services is an agency that technically represents the minor child and not the parents (although you will benefit greatly from their assistance). If considering hiring an attorney to assist your case, or if you already have an attorney, be wary if they recommend that you not involve Child Support Services. Lawyers do not like to risk losing control of a client or a case by involving a 3rd party. Many lawyers will tell you that your local government agency “muddies the waters.” But I have found that such services can keep your lawyer honest. In fact, in my particular case, I ended up having no choice but to fire my private attorney and represent myself along with Child Support Services by my side in court. Such a strategy turned out successfully for me, but you must choose your own path. Just be sure to keep in mind that the judges and state employees typically know one another and work well with each other. Whether you are seeking a reduction in support, or looking for a higher modification; your local agency is a huge resource when used effectively. By always striving to be organized and presenting yourself professionally, you can help ensure that you engage the state agency efficiently and effectively to assist your case. When you have child support services involved, they will make sure you have a court date on calendar, they will do their best to keep continuances to a minimum and, most importantly, they diligently do their job knowing the best interest of your child is at stake. But again, be sure to be organized, prepared and professional when dealing with government agencies. They do not engage in stall tactics that many private attorneys tolerate or sometimes even create at your expense. www.MostWantedDeadbeats.com Ten Guerilla Tactics for Child Support Enforcement 5 3 Obtain documentation that can be used as proof of income in your favor. Documentation beats conversation! You will need to collect as much documentation as you can to prove your deadbeat’s income. Unfortunately, most non-custodial parents (parents whom live away from the child) feel that the support amount ordered is unfair. It is not uncommon for the non-custodial parent to try and hide income. If this is your situation, you will need to get a bit more creative in your discovery process. First, think of any-and-all applications your ex may have recently filled out that may show or prove income. Use subpoenas if necessary (reference Tactic #7 for more info about subpoenas) to obtain all car lease applications, credit card applications, rental applications, or any other documentation you believe may reflect a statement of income. Documentation that requires detailed information to be filled out by the applicant can hold up well in court and your ex will have to answer questions regarding their stated income if it reflects differently than what is stated on their income and expense report. This is a tactic used by the best seasoned attorneys to discredit the opposing party. If you can show deception, you are well on your way to success with your hearing. Judges do not appreciate or tolerate disrespect or lying under oath- not to mention it is against the law. Very serious penalties can result from perjury, even jail time. www.MostWantedDeadbeats.com Ten Guerilla Tactics for Child Support Enforcement 6 4 Build alliances with neighbors, friends and co-workers. You will often hear me discuss building and strengthening alliances with those who can help you prove your case. The best way to ensure this tactic works in your favor is simply by being honest, sincere and non vengeful in your actions. Most people, if capable, are willing to divulge information for the sake of child’s welfare, but most simply do not know how to go about providing such help unless guided a bit. By giving others confidence that you are not using them merely to gain information to hurt the other party, but to sincerely enlist allies in your quest to ensure your child’s welfare, you can earn there trust and potentially critical information that can aid your case. The court system is designed to win or lose, but that should not be your goal in family court. If you can show your sincere need to resolve the matter with a fair resolution, you will gain favor and empathy from those willing to help you. Psychologists tell us that a divorce can be as painful as the death of a loved one. Most people’s concern over the decline in our society’s family structure and high divorce-rate enables them to relate to the pain of your experience and such concern makes them more willing to selflessly extend a helping hand. In fact, with the escalating numbers of unpaid child support cases, almost everyone you know has been either directly affected or knows someone who has been victimized by a deadbeat parent. Even the family members and friends of your ex will be willing to help if they feel you have the right intentions. The most obvious way to get started is to not engage in name calling or hostile, threatening conversations. When threats are made, people by nature get defensive. Do not try and communicate or contact alliances if you are emotionally upset or angry. Most people are more comfortable talking to you when you are calm and rational. Visit with family, friends and neighbors to discuss your situation and goals for you and your child. It is okay to discuss your hardships briefly to gain empathy. But the main goal is to be brief and ask questions for answers that will aid you. And write everything down! www.MostWantedDeadbeats.com Ten Guerilla Tactics for Child Support Enforcement 7 5 Have Child Support Services restrict drivers license and passport. Child Support Services can offer many services for you when back support is owed. The most important thing you can do to ensure their assistance is to make sure you are in regular contact with your case worker and stay active in your case. Don’t expect CSS to work harder than you are willing to work. They will help you providing you are willing to help them help you. A common practice today is suspending the non paying parent’s drivers license and passport. Also, in extreme cases, CSS can suspend professional licenses that permit your ex to work legally. Be sure to alert the agency if your ex has a career that requires a medical license, real estate license, brokerage license, contractor license etc. The non paying parent will receive notice by mail that their licenses have been suspended. If they continue to drive or work under a suspended license that will just add another legal headache they will be forced to deal with and ideally compel them to pay what they owe in order to stop being rightfully targeted. Adding this kind of pressure works! Another great tactic used by CSS is tax interceptions from the federal government. Because the federal government governs the individual State offices, they work together to collect on your behalf. This is another reason why I always suggest having Child Support Services involved even if you have a private attorney. Most significant collections of unpaid child support have been known to be collected by these tactics alone! www.MostWantedDeadbeats.com Ten Guerilla Tactics for Child Support Enforcement 8 6 Wage Withholding. This tactic resorts to using a court order to demand your ex’s employer deduct a specified amount from every paycheck on your behalf. The money typically goes into the State agency’s account until recorded by their accounting department before they mail the payment to you. You can have child support services arrange this hearing. I recommend having the State agency collect the funds on your behalf because you can take advantage of their accounting department which can come in handy later down the road. This tactic relieves this burden off your shoulders and ensures you can take advantage of a State CPA to help manage your child support accounting. I view this service as a benefit to both parents. It helps add another level of clarity and understanding over disputed amounts. In addition, I recommend you still keep a notebook with your own records or have a folder that you can keep your bank statements showing deposit history. Child support is always modifiable which means you can always appear again in court at any time to have your case reviewed. Courts may request up to three years of financial documents so save all pertinent paperwork! www.MostWantedDeadbeats.com Ten Guerilla Tactics for Child Support Enforcement 9 7 Use Subpoenas as your primary weapon to legally obtain information. You should take full advantage of subpoenas! Subpoena translates to "under punishment" in Latin. It is an order from a court for a person to appear at a trial or provide information under punishment for failure to appear or failure to comply. If the person given a subpoena does not comply, some courts have the discretion to find the person in contempt of court and either order the person’s arrest or issue fines accordingly. They are one of the strongest tools you have for enforcement in your case. The court order typically demands action usually within thirty (30) days for the information you are requesting. If the person intended for the subpoena does not comply they must answer to a judge. They are like guided missiles and are very effective. Once you know what bank accounts are open or what credit cards they have available, you can start requesting specific information form those sources (Further information on how to initiate such efforts can be found within numerous articles that will be regularly posted at www.MostWantedDeadbeats.com). If you subpoena the business accounts of your ex make sure you subpoena his suppliers and partners as well! When you review statements you can see specifically where money has gone and subpoena those sources! Subpoenas are very important because many banks and companies protect their clients. They will not just turn over personal information, nor should they without a subpoena. Most people who receive subpoenas comply and will send you the information you requested to avoid a court appearance or testimony, although you may still demand their appearance in court. Even if you have a favorable judgment against your ex, you still need to collect the money. Subpoenas will help you collect and prove income. www.MostWantedDeadbeats.com Ten Guerilla Tactics for Child Support Enforcement 10 8 Levy bank accounts, put liens on property, divert insurance claims. Many states have legal options set up for you to request a levy on bank accounts or liens on known property owned by your ex. Some states offer these services through departmental agencies such as a state’s Department of Revenue, while others facilitate this directly through the courts. Whichever entity is applicable in your state, you will essentially be required to submit written notice of the overdue status of your payments along with evidence that your ex is in possession of bank accounts or property that can rightfully be targeted for collection. Once approved and filed a levy takes control of some or all of the accounts and the funds in them. A Notice of Levy is issued to the bank or other financial institution to collect the support from the accounts. The Notice of Levy instructs the bank to "freeze" all of the non-custodial parent's accounts up to the amount of the levy- typically for around twenty-one (21) days, and then funds are forwarded to the designated entity. A copy of the Notice of Levy is mailed to the obligor typically seven days after it was mailed to the financial institution. Real property liens are a tactic typically employed when other measures such as wage garnishment has failed. Such liens often require a forced sale and can involve a lengthy process. But this is a valid tactic to be pursued if necessary. Taking steps to simply file a lien can even prove effective as a title company checks for Abstract of Judgments, Federal Tax Liens, Child Support Liens, etc. when a person does a real estate transaction. If any are found the title company will require the lien(s) to be paid off on or before closing the transaction. Lastly, some states also have resources to research personal injury and workers compensation claims registered by insurers which can then be diverted upon submitting written request to intercept such payments. www.MostWantedDeadbeats.com Ten Guerilla Tactics for Child Support Enforcement 11 9 Report the non-custodial parent’s child support debt to credit bureaus. By law, child support cases with an arrears balance typically amounting to $1,000.00 or greater (limits may vary by state) or a child support judgment can be reported to all the credit bureaus (Equifax, Transunion, Experian). Upon alerting the relevant state agency overseeing child support enforcement in writing about your overdue amount, the responsible agency may file information to the credit reporting bureaus on your arrears balance on a monthly basis. However, each credit reporting bureau has their own time frames as to when they utilize this information to update their records. Negative information can remain on your ex’s credit report for up to seven years after the overdue child support amount owed is paid. Protecting one’s credit history is typically a very powerful motivation that can result in amicable settlement of overdue amounts prior to taking such drastic measures against your ex. I recommend establishing contact with your ex by writing to alert them of your intent to file negative reports on their credit record. You will be amazed at how effective the mere mention of this tactic can be in gaining compliance. If such correspondence does not generate the results you desire, then I absolutely recommend using this powerful tactic to compel enforcement of what is rightfully owed to you. Credit Bureaus: Equifax P. O. Box 740241 Atlanta, Ga 30374-0241 (800) 685-1111 www.equifax.com Experian P. O. Box 2002 Allen, TX 75013 (888) 397-3742 www.experian.com Trans Union 760 West Sproul Road P. O. Box 390 Springfield, PA 19064-0390 (800) 888-4213 www.transunion.com www.MostWantedDeadbeats.com Ten Guerilla Tactics for Child Support Enforcement 12 10 Contact Government and Media to share your story! If you are struggling financially and emotionally due to the strain a “deadbeat” parent has thrust upon your life and your child’s life, then stand up and express yourself! It may be cliché, but the “squeaky wheel” does indeed get the oil. Become a vocal advocate for yourself and for those in similar situations to your own. Tell your story. Tell it in writing, in video, in phone calls or whatever medium is readily available to you. Tell your story and tell it passionately with the conviction of someone willing to express their frustration over being victimized unjustly. Make your voice heard! Often the best place to voice your story, is to your state and national representatives. We elect officials to ideally represent the interests of their constituents. Take the time to contact your State representative(s), Governor, U.S. Representative in Washington, U.S. Senators in Washington, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Commissioner of the Office of Child Support Enforcement and even the President of the United States. Call, email, fax, and write letters until someone responds back to you. You can find contact information for government representatives and agencies online at your state website along with additional informational links and resources at www.MostWantedDeadbeats.com In addition to contacting your representatives, be sure to reach out to local media to voice your story. Local newspapers and news stations will often be empathetic to unresolved child support cases with unique, newsworthy circumstances and may be willing to pick up on your story as a human interest story. If you carefully manage how consistently your story is told, there is a always a chance that your story can gain coverage in national media outlets as well in the same manner my story found an audience. You’ll never know how much attention you can gain until you start demanding attention! www.MostWantedDeadbeats.com Ten Guerilla Tactics for Child Support Enforcement 13 About MostWantedDeadbeats.com MostWantedDeadbeats.com's mission is to educate and empower parents, regardless of gender, with tools and tactics to help them enforce financial obligations from so-called “deadbeat” or delinquent parents. Founder Jennifer Young realized early on that the road to achieving favorable judgment and collection of child support was not easy. In her seven year battle, she was forced to learn the most detailed processes, laws, and tactics impacting the collection of such support. Overwhelming interest in Jennifer’s successful story encouraged her to share her insights as a non-legal activist and coach for parents and their children. Jennifer founded MostWantedDeadbeats.com to with the simple intent of being the most trusted and authoritative online resource on child support issues nationwide. www.MostWantedDeadBeats.com www.MostWantedDeadbeats.com
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