Enforcing child support when your ex won't pay

When a legal issue arises in your family, the best way you can protect yourself and the ones you love is by consulting a family law attorney who understands how to help you.

Now that you are divorced and the court has awarded you custody of your children, you may be worried about your ex not making child support payments. When you depend on that monthly income to provide food, clothing and shelter for you children, it can cause a financial burden if your ex does not pay. Many single parents find themselves in this position after divorce. That is why the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984 is in place.

Even though there are options available to you to collect back child support, navigating the court process can be very difficult. A Fort Collins family law attorney can help you take the necessary steps to get the support your children deserve. Read further for more information on child support enforcement laws.

Serving papers

Usually, if a parent stops making court ordered child support payments, you will need to seek the court's assistance. Your options are to get a judgment and garnish bank accounts, to get an income assignment and have the employer hold out child support on the payee's behalf and send it to you, and/or to file for contempt. If your ex has the ability to pay, but refuses, papers can be served on the payee and your ex could face jail time. However, if your ex does end up in jail, this means that the payee is not working and will not have money to pay.

Possible consequences

If you seek assistance through Child Support Enforcement through the Department of Social Services, your ex's tax refunds can be intercepted and sent to you for child support. Child Support Enforcement also has the power to suspend any driver's, business or occupational licenses your ex might have and hold them until the child support is caught up.

Another option is property seizure. A judge may decide to take certain assets from your ex as payment (although this rarely happens).

Collecting back child support

The courts take child support issues very seriously. When a parent falls behind on payments, the court can order him or her to begin making payments again and to pay the amount that is past due. If your ex is having trouble making payments because of a change in circumstances since the last court order, your ex might petition the court for a reduction. While the court may choose to reduce the current monthly payments, the full amount past due must still be paid.

If your ex-spouse has stopped making court ordered child support payments, you have options. Before it gets too out of hand, take the time to speak with a Fort Collins attorney to find out what steps you need to take to ensure the child support order is enforced.

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