For many parents, child support payments serve as an essential income to
supply food, clothes, transportation, and other necessities for their
children. In the event that your ex refuses to pay court-ordered child
support, you have a right to take legal action in order to secure those
necessary funds for your child.
The Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984 provides the court with the necessary
power to require an ex-spouse or parent to provide any court-ordered financial
support to his or her child. Refusing to pay court-ordered child support
is illegal, and can result in severe penalties, including withholding
federal tax refunds, garnishing wages, seizing property, suspending occupational
or business licenses, or revoking that person’s driver’s license.
In extreme cases, the delinquent may even face jail time for their failure to pay.
If a parent is unable to meet the required payments for child support because
of a significant change to his or her financial situation, there are means
through which he or she can secure a change in payments. However, refusing
to pay out of anger, spite, carelessness, or any other reason besides
financial insufficiency is not allowable. Even if your ex lacks the finances
to pay child support, failure to petition the court and gain legal approval
of decreased payments is still an inadequate reason to skip payments.
In fact, if your ex refuses to provide payment for a number of months
or even years, you can ask the court to order the payment of the overdue amount.
Before taking legal action against your ex, it may be beneficial to talk
to them about your child support arrangement, especially if the two of
you are on amicable terms. If they are facing a devastating financial
situation, try to be understanding and see if the two of you can work
out an arrangement that works for each of you and, most importantly, the
child you share. Make sure you record any arrangements in writing or go
through legal means to have your new negotiation confirmed by the court,
just to cover your bases. You may also consider mediation, if the two
of you cannot get along without a third party to assist you, before taking
legal action against your ex.
If you are unable to come to an agreement, you should contact your lawyer
and discuss your legal options. An experienced family law attorney will
be able to provide you with legal options for obtaining your missing child
support, even filing a motion for contempt of court. To be held in contempt
means the person in question refused court orders and can be either criminal
or civil. In either case, the person in contempt may be ordered to pay
fines, or even serve time in jail. The court will have the authority to
take legal action against your ex, withholding wages, tax returns and
such until the necessary payments are made.
If you need help filing a motion for contempt of court because your ex
refuses to pay child support, contact Owenby Law, P.A.
for legal assistance.