If you've gone through a divorce and won custody, you'll likely be awarded child support as well. What do you do when your former spouse is now withholding child support from you? Here is what you should know about this unfortunate situation.
Give Them The Benefit Of The Doubt
The first thing you should do is talk to your former spouse about the missed payments. It's possible that the missed payments are unintentional and they are unaware. For example, they are using direct deposit and the wrong account number was entered, or the checks are being sent to the wrong address. Try to clarify these things first. If your former spouse is simply being stubborn and withholding child support, then you have to take legal action.
Listen To Why They Can't Make Payments
Your former spouse needs to know that the child support payments are due each month, and every month that they miss is recorded as an unpaid payment. Let them know that there are consequences of not paying child support, such as losing their driver's license, fines, or jail time. If they cannot make the payments because they cannot afford them, then it is their responsibility to request a hearing with a judge and explain why the payments are too much. Missed payments will still need to be made up, but future payments may be changed to a lower amount that is more manageable.
Know Your Options
If you've asked repeatedly for those missed payments, you'll need to go to court to resolve the issues. It starts with filing a petition of contempt with the court so that they will enforce the order. This will get the legal process started so that you can receive the money that you are owed. You do not always need a lawyer to do this, but consider reaching out to a child custody lawyer if you are not sure how to do it.
If your former spouse has moved, know that you can still collect child support from them even if they are in a different state. You'd still file your court motions with your local court, and the court will enforce the order. However, things are a bit tricky if your former spouse has moved out of the country. There may not be laws in place that allow child support payments to be enforced, depending on where they live. Always get a lawyer involved when things get complicated.
To learn more, contact a child custody lawyer.
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