Are you wondering what to do when child support is not being paid? Keep reading to find out your best next move.
No one expects to get a divorce when they walk down the aisle and say their vows. Still, however, a vast majority of marriages end in divorce. Divorce is a complicated process for anyone, but it’s especially tough when kids are involved, and child support needs to be decided on.
What to Do When Child Support is Not Being Paid by Your Ex
Child support is a mandatory payment that your ex must make to support your children. Do you know what to do when child support is not being paid? Former spouses skipping out on support payments is unfortunately all too common.
If you don’t want to become severely financially burdened, you must take the proper steps and fast. Read on, and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about dealing with an ex who won’t pay child support.
Know Your Legal Rights
First and foremost, it’s worth mentioning that child support is not something a former spouse can opt-in or opt-out of. In all fifty states across the U.S., some laws state that parents must financially support their children, even when separated.
In almost all cases, the parent who spends less time with the children in custody arrangements is the one who pays support to the other parent. The assumption here is that the parent with primary custody will handle the child’s expenses while they are in their care.
There are several guidelines in each state that outline how child support amounts are landed upon. Spouses might also request a particular amount that doesn’t necessarily adhere to the state guidelines.
When child support payments are not kept up with, it can leave a single parent in a perilous financial situation. Often, these single parents then have to look to the government for state and financial aid. For this reason, the government has severely cracked down on those who seek to avoid paying proper child support.
An Attorney Can Help
If your former spouse has ceased to pay their fair share of child support, you should immediately contact a child support lawyer. The next steps you need to take will require knowledge of the law and the justice system. An experienced lawyer will make sure you proceed down the proper path.
It can be helpful to hire the lawyer who represented you in your initial divorce and child custody case, but it isn’t necessary. There are several reasons why a single parent might hire a different attorney, including cost, among other things.
Your attorney can reach out to your spouse (or your spouse’s attorney) and issue a formal complaint. Sometimes, this is all it takes to get the support payments coming in. Once a figure of authority reaches out, your ex might get spooked and start sending money again.
If your former spouse claims that they can no longer pay the amount decided, you might have to go back to court, where you’ll definitely need the help of your attorney. There are situations in which your ex can negotiate the terms of the payment plan down.
If they’ve suffered a job loss or a reduction in income, they can win a negotiation. Your attorney will fight for you and ensure you get as much compensation as humanly possible. They will push your ex to prove their claims with hard evidence.
There are instances where your ex may be taking actions that are against the law. If they are intentionally reducing their income to avoid paying support, for example, the court may take specific steps to ensure that the payment amounts stay at the same rate.
Law Enforcement Tools
What if a spouse refuses to pay? There are many law enforcement tools that an attorney can help a single parent to enact.
One of the most common orders a judge may lay down is a wage garnishment or deduction. This is where the state can reach out to the employer of the person in question and request that a certain percentage of their weekly paycheck is given directly to child support.
In this manner, the money doesn’t pass through your ex’s hands at all. It goes straight to you. For child support situations, up to 50% of a person’s weekly paycheck can be taken and put towards appropriate payment.
The state can also intercept a person’s yearly tax refund and put it towards child support payments.
On top of these matters, the state can make it very hard for your ex to live peacefully while avoiding paying child support. A person who avoids payments can have their license suspended or revoked. Their passport can be restricted, preventing them from traveling out of the country.
They may even be found of contempt of court, a charge which could put them behind bars.
It’s best to speak with an experienced attorney to determine which of these different tactics may be best used in your particular situation. A judge has to approve all requests, and it may take many weeks before an enforcement tool is officially enacted.
What To Do When Child Support Is Not Being Paid
Do you know what to do when child support is not being paid? It’s an awkward position to be in for any single parent. To avoid financial hardship, you will need to take the steps above. You deserve a fair share of support from your former spouse, and an attorney can help you get it.
Need more family advice and tips? Check out our parenting article for information on every topic!