Supporting a child is the responsibility of both parents when the two no longer live together. The courts will decide which parent will pay and how much, depending on what the child support laws of the state the family resides. When one parent fails to pay his or her fair share of child support, the person who is harmed the most is the child. If your co-parent is not paying their court-ordered support, you may be wondering what legal options you have to get them to pay.
A family lawyer, can help you obtain the child support you and your children are owed and will use all available legal remedies to collect those funds. Call a law office to find out how they can help. In the meantime, the following is a brief overview.
If your co-parent has missed a payment for the first time, communication is a good first step. Contact them to find out about the payment. They may have a legitimate excuse and going to court would really be unnecessary if this is just a one-time event. But if any of the following scenarios exist, legal action may be necessary:
- The parent does not have an explanation as to why they missed the payment and is vague about when payment will be made.
- The parent continues to miss payments.
- The parent makes no attempts to pay what they owe.
- The parent refuses to make any child support payments.
If any of the above factors are in play with your situation, contact a child support attorney to make legal arrangements to request the court enforce the child support order. The attorney will file a petition to ask the court to hold the parent in contempt for not paying the child support. In order to be successful, the attorney must show the court the following:
- The parent owes child support
- The child support has not been paid
- How long the parent has owed the support
If the court finds that the evidence shows the parent is not meeting their child support obligations, the other parent will be ordered to appear in front of the court to explain why the payments have not been made. The paying parent will need to explain to the court why the payments have not been made. If the court finds that the parent does not have a valid reason (i.e. medical condition preventing them from working), they will order the parent to comply. The court may take one or more of the following steps to make sure the parent does comply:
- Garnish the parent’s wages or bank accounts
- Put a lien on the parent’s property
- Take the amount owed from any federal or state tax refunds
- Suspend the parent’s license
- Order criminal prosecution which could result in jail and/or fines
Let a Child Support Attorney Help
A child support attorney can help you obtain a child support order, request modification of a current order, or help collect back child support that is owed to them. Contact a law office today to schedule a free and confidential consultation and find out how they can help.