How does enforcement by Judicial Action in the Superior Courts work?

When DCS is unable to collect unpaid support through the application of its various administrative remedies (for example, wage withholding, liens against real and personal property, bank seizures, license suspension, etc.) it may refer the unpaid child support order to a Prosecuting Attorney for review and possible filing for judicial enforcement. The responsibility for presenting the case in court lies with the Prosecuting Attorney. Therefore, each Prosecuting Attorney's office sets the criteria the case must meet before accepting the referral from DCS or filing the case in court for judicial action. When a Prosecuting Attorney files a case for judicial enforcement, the prosecutor represents the State of Washington, and does not represent either the CP or NCP.

Despite recent record improvements in paternity establishment and child support collections, much more needs to be done to ensure that all children born out-of-wedlock have paternity established and that all non-custodial parents provide financial support for their children. Currently, only about one-half of the custodial parents due child support receive full payment. About twenty-five percent receive partial payment and twenty-five percent receive nothing.

In an effort to strengthen and improve state child support enforcement activities, several federal laws were passed, including a national new-hire reporting system. These laws required states to pass uniform interstate child support laws, automate enforcement actions, and provide for tougher noncompliance penalties, such as driver's license revocation.