North Dakota’s Child Support Lien Law Is A Bridge Too Far
As of March 1st, North Dakota’s Child Support Enforcement agency has implemented an online lien database for people past-due with their child support. Already citizens who are chronically overdue on their support payments face mandatory payroll withholding, loss of their drivers license and even jail time. Now people who are even just a little bit past due on their payments will be blacklisted in an online database with an automatic lien put against all of their property including their vehicles.
What’s more, people such as car dealers are required to check this database before selling a car (which some car dealers aren’t happy with given the additional work it imposes on them).
To be clear, this database isn’t just for consistent child support offenders. According to the website for the database, “if an obligor owes any amount of past-due support that is being enforced by CSE, the obligor will appear on the Lien Registry.”
This means that if you’re $20 short on your child support payment one month, you get listed in an online database as though you were a child molester and you have a lien automatically put against all of your property. Meanwhile, if you’re a non-custodial parent with a court-order for visitation good luck getting any support from the state in enforcing that order.
That’s because the federal government funds some state-administered social programs based on the amount of child support the state collects and distributes. The more they collect and distribute the more they get from the federal government. Which is while paying parents, even those who aren’t necessarily problem payers, are all but treated like criminals.
As a divorced father who pays child support, I now have to live in fear of the embarrassment of some future clerical error (or, heaven forbid, some future financial problems) landing me on this list. All so that the state government can maximize their take from the federal government.
I am for non-custodial parents paying child support. I feel it is a responsibility they must shoulder. What I am not for, however, are such draconian collection methods that are more about enriching the state government than providing appropriate level of support for children.Tags: child support, North Dakota News