A recent article in the Bench and Bar reminds Minnesota family law attorneys that there are several ways to collect child support and spousal maintenance awards. The article suggests that we not overlook something called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). This is an order that divides a party’s retirement benefits. In other words, if you are a parent that is owed substantial arrears because your ex-spouse or ex-partner is not paying court ordered support, your family law attorney can move the court for a QDRO which will take an immediate lump sum from a retirement account, rather than waiting for many years for the arrears to be repaid by automatic income withholding.
This method of arrears collection avoids the lengthy process of contempt where there are usually at least three costly hearings before the party owing the arrears feels any consequences. It also avoids the trap of license suspension. One quick solution that the county often takes when trying to collect arrears is to cancel the driver’s or professional license of the party that is not paying. The difficulty with this is that it often impedes or prevents that person from working, which just compounds the problem of nonpayment.
If you are owed significant arrears from a court ordered child support or spousal maintenance award and your ex-spouse or ex-partner has a retirement account, ask your family law attorney about using a QDRO to collect what is owed to you.