Department of Revenue Involvement in Child Support Matters
CAN THE MASSACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE HAVE AN INVOLVEMENT WITH CHILD SUPPORT ORDERS IN DIVORCE CASES?
Many divorce litigants ask the questions, “Can the Massachusetts Department of Revenue have any involvement in establishing or enforcing a child support order in divorce cases?” and “Does one party need to receive public assistance in order for the Department of Revenue to establish or enforce child support orders?”
The answer is that the DOR may be involved in both situations. The DOR is required to provide families and children with certain relevant services, whether or not they receive public assistance. The DOR is allowed to establish and enforce child support obligations and to (1) locate absent parents, (2) establish paternity, (3) establish child support orders, and (4) collect and disburse child support. Further, the DOR is authorized by M.G.L.A. c. 119A to seek a support order (when there is not already one) on any pending complaint for divorce. The DOR can also seek modification of any prior order of support that was entered in a divorce case.
The DOR is authorized to initiate collection procedures when child support arrearages have accrued. Arrearages occur when a child support obligor fails to pay child support for a period of time. The DOR may take such actions as initiating a wage garnishment, sending demand letters to the obligor, intercept tax refunds, levy accounts, start contempt proceedings, seize property, and so on.
If a party to a divorce action does receive public assistance, the child support order entered must make the amount owed payable to the DOR.
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