Child Support: Taking Action When Your Ex Doesn’t Pay

Posted by Steven D. Eversole | Dec 12, 2013 | 0 Comments

At the time of divorce, couples will have to divide their assets, income and financial responsibilities. Child support obligations will depend on income and caretaking roles as well as other factors such as special needs of the child. In an ideal world, a primary caretaker would collect child support to supplement care expenses to meet basic needs and standards of living after a divorce. Unfortunately, individuals who are charged with child support obligations often cannot pay or refuse to pay according to a court order. What should you do if your ex doesn't pay support?

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Child support is a sensitive issue for many primary caretakers who depend on it for everyday living expenses. Our Birmingham divorce attorneys understand that going without child support is a huge burden for many mothers and fathers in the primary parenting role. While your ex may be in contempt of court, you should have a clear understanding of your rights so that you can take appropriate action to collect the child support you are entitled to.

For primary caretakers, it can be difficult to budget without knowing that your ex will be making child support payments on time. When child support payments go unpaid over long periods of time, those entitled could be missing out on tens of thousands of dollars that could be used for child needs. There are a number of different circumstances that could affect the decision not to pay. Your ex may be out of work and unable to afford obligations. Maybe your ex is angry about the court's decision and is refusing to pay out of spite. In some cases, a child support obligator simply goes missing. In some of these cases, the child support debtor will face an arrest warrant, but what can you do if your child support goes unpaid?

When an ex doesn't pay child support, you may feel frustrated like you have no recourse, especially when bills start piling up. According to the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, there is $108 billion in unpaid child support in the United States. If your ex has disappeared, is unemployed, or does not have assets, it can be difficult to get recovery. While garnishing wages can be an option, it can be difficult if your ex refuses to work or doesn't make enough.

If you are still in touch with your ex, you should refrain from punishing him or her by denying custodial visits. This may only push your ex further away and create an additional incentive not to pay. While many primary custodial parents feel that if their ex isn't going to pay, they shouldn't have the right to see a child, punishment is not a solution. You want to maintain the relationship and also keep the other parent invested. In many cases, an ex will see that you are genuine and be more likely to pay up when funds become available.

If your ex is not dependable, start to budget without child support. Keep it separate so that you are not in debt or behind in the event that you do not get paid. You can also try to work out a deal with your ex to pay a portion of what is due. At the end of the day, remember that you are entitled to child support and can take legal action to enforce a child support order.

If you are seeking a divorce in Birmingham, contact Family Law Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.

About the Author

Steven D. Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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