What to Do When You Haven’t Received Child Support Payments
When you’re raising a child as a single parent, child support can make the difference between making ends meet and struggling for another month. That’s one reason why courts take the obligation so seriously. If you’re entitled to court-ordered child support payments, but your ex-partner is refusing to pay, you should contact your child support or family law attorney in Park Hills, MO immediately. They’ll work with you and the courts to ensure you get the support you were promised.
Here’s an overview of what happens when you haven’t gotten your child support payments. Keep in mind that this is only applicable if you have a court-ordered support award. If you and your ex only have a verbal agreement, you’ll need to work with a family law lawyer to file for child support.
Depending on where you live, you can talk to either the district attorney’s office or the child support enforcement office. They will be able to identify the next steps that should be taken, and notify the other parent that they’re in violation of the court order. If the other parent still doesn’t pay, there can be serious consequences.
What happens when a parent refuses to pay?
Courts do not take non-payment of child support lightly. The delinquent parent could be subject to a number of consequences, including:
- Fines: Refusing to pay child support won’t save any money in the long run. Parents who refuse to pay can be slapped with hefty fines, on top of the arrearages they’ll already need to pay back.
- Wage garnishment: As the custodial parent who should be receiving support, you can ask your attorney, the district attorney or child support enforcement office to help file for wage garnishment. This usually requires the parent to fill out paperwork and send it to the delinquent parent’s place of employment. Wage garnishment can go up to 60 percent of the parent’s income.
- Fund interception: If the non-paying parent gets a one-time lump sum of money, like lottery winnings or an inheritance, the court may intercept those funds to pay the delinquent child support amount.
- Jail time: If a parent willfully refuses to pay child support, they may eventually end up in jail with felony charges.
What happens if you can’t pay?
If you’re the non-custodial parent who needs to pay—but can’t—notify the court or your attorney immediately. As long as you keep the courts apprised of what’s happening, you may be able to temporarily or permanently modify the child support order. This usually occurs when there are major changes in circumstance, like job loss, permanent disability and other life- or income-altering circumstances. Whatever the issue, do not avoid sending your payments, or you may be subject to the fines and consequences above. Courts look more kindly on parents who demonstrate a desire but inability to pay.