What actions can DCS take to enforce a child support order?

Chapters 26.18, 26.23, and 74.20A RCW allow DCS to take collection actions even if the noncustodial parent is not behind in support payments. DCS may take the following actions, under the laws of the state of Washington or other states, at any time without further notice to the noncustodial parent:

  • To collect current support and past-due support, DCS may send the noncustodial parent's employer or other person or organizations holding assets for or income due to the noncustodial parent an Income Withholding for Support or Order to Withhold and Deliver.
  • To collect past-due support, DCS may also:
    • File liens against, seize, and sell part or all of the noncustodial parent's real estate, vehicles, or other real or personal property.
    • Turn the case over to a private collection agency.
    • Ask licensing authorities to suspend or not renew the noncustodial parent's driver's, hunting, fishing, recreational, professional, business, and occupational licenses.
    • Attach the noncustodial parent's bank accounts.
    • Refer the case to a Prosecuting Attorney for contempt proceedings.
    • Refer the case to a U.S. Attorney for criminal non-support.
    • Refer the case to the federal government to intercept any income tax refund or other payment owed to the noncustodial parent by the government, and to revoke or not issue or renew a U.S. passport.
    • Refer the case to credit reporting agencies.
    • Take other withholding actions as needed.
  • To enforce health insurance obligations, DCS may send a National Medical Support Notice to the obligated parent's employer or union. This notice requires the employer or union to enroll the child or children in an available health insurance plan and withhold the premiums from the parent's pay.
    • If the child or children listed on page 1 have Indian Health Services (IHS) available to them, that care satisfies health insurance requirements.
    • Even if the child or children are eligible for IHS, the obligated parent must still enroll the child or children in accessible insurance if it is provided by his or her employer at no cost.

NOTE: DCS recognizes Indian tribal sovereignty. If the parent is an employee of an Indian tribe, tribally-owned business, or Indian-owned business on a reservation, DCS may not serve the notices mentioned above. If the tribe has a process to do so, DCS will ask the tribal court to enforce this notice.

If you still have questions, contact your support enforcement officer at the phone number listed on the last page of the notice you received. If you are not sure which office handles your case, call the KIDS line at 1-800-442-KIDS (5437).