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Booting cars is latest tactic in child support enforcement

In Boulder County, as in many other jurisdictions, collecting past due child support payments is often a frustrating task. Now a county in Michigan is trying a new tactic: instead of locking parents up in the county jail for failure to pay child support, sheriff's deputies will go to the parent's home and lock up their car.

They do it with a device known as a "boot" which immobilizes one of the car's wheels. If the owner tries to drive the car, they end up with a shredded tire. Deputies also put a sticker on the windshield containing contact information and advising the owner the boot can be removed once they bring their child support payments current.

The new approach appears to be working. So far, 35 cars have been immobilized, and in all but two cases the parent has paid up. The department responsible for collection reports that about $17,000 in delinquent payments has come in. In some cases, a judge has ordered the car to be seized. It is then sold and the proceeds used to pay the child support.

Parents who find they are falling behind in their child support payments don't have to let it come to this. In Colorado, the obligated parent can go to the court and request a modification if changed circumstances make their court-ordered payment no longer feasible. The parent must show that the change in circumstances is both substantial and continuing. If, after applying Colorado's child support guidelines to the new circumstances, the change in the monthly payment would be ten percent or less, the change is not considered substantial or continuing.

Source: WFMY News 2, "Parents Late With Child Support Gets Boot On Car In Michigan," March 6, 2013

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