Idaho's Statute of Limitation on Back Child Support Orders

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Idaho Child Support Services (CSS) is a division of the state's Department of Health and Welfare. CSS is funded by the federal and state governments and helps custodial parents collect back child support. Enforcement can only occur for a limited amount of time, so CSS takes all action authorized to collect back support as quickly as possible.

Support Amount

  • An Idaho court will issue a child support order during a paternity, separation or divorce proceeding. The child support amount is set using a formula based on the owing parent's income and increasing percentages according to the number of children he must support. Child support must be paid until the child is 18, or age 19 if the child is still enrolled in high school and actively working toward a diploma.

Statute of Limitations

  • CSS is only authorized to collect back child support before the statute of limitations expires. Idaho has a statute of limitations of five years after emancipation. All enforcement methods must cease when the child turns 23 years old, or sooner if the child became emancipated by law before age 18. Emancipation occurs when a minor child gets married or enlists in the military at age 16 or 17; the statute of limitations expires at age 21 or 22, and any remaining back child support cannot be collected by CSS.

Income Withholding

  • CSS collects most back support and current support with income withholding orders. These orders require an employer to deduct child support from an owing parent's wages and transfer the withheld funds to the custodial parent. If a parent is making payments on time, CSS can only order up to 50 percent of the income withheld. If the parent owes back support, up to 65 percent of her income can be deducted.

Asset Forfeiture

  • Before the statute of limitations expires, Idaho's CSS can also seize the owing parent's assets. If the back support is more than $500, CSS may seize state and federal tax refunds. The parent may also forfeit lottery winnings of more than $1,000, up to the full amount of back support owed. CSS can also file a lien on all real property the parent owns in Idaho if he has failed to pay more than $2,000 in back support. If he attempts to sell the property, the back support must be paid in full for the lien to removed, often from the proceeds of the sale.

Criminal Prosecution

  • When an owing parent is not a state resident of Idaho, or the child she is supporting is no longer a state resident, failure to support the child becomes a federal criminal offense. The Child Support Recovery Act of 1992 allows the U.S. Attorney to charge the parent with a misdemeanor for owing $5,000 in back support and a felony for owing $10,000 in back support, though any cases charged are felonies because the U.S. Attorney will only take a case if the parent owes more than $20,000 in back support. If convicted, the parent will serve six months in jail for the first offense and two years if any subsequent charges are filed for continued failure to pay support.

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