Many times clients come into my office with the following complaint: “my ex is not paying child support” and ask if anything can be done. It can! And you should enforce that obligation quickly and swiftly so that it does not become of habit of the parent who pays the obligation. While some parents are reluctant to enforce the obligation for fear of “making waves” remember that child support is for your child, not for you. If you do not enforce the obligation, you are sending a message to the other parent that their behavior is acceptable, and that you do not need it. Arrears can add up quickly. I have represented both payors and payees with arrears in the tens of thousands of dollars!
The most effective way to enforce a child support obligation is through a Motion for An Order to Show Cause. If a payor is behind, the payee can request an order from a Judge requiring the other parent to appear in front of the Court and explain their failure to follow the Court Order to pay support. The payor can face consequences such as an award of attorney fees to jail for not making a substantial payment towards their obligation.
There are several other things to consider in collecting a child support obligation, including license suspensions, intercepting assets or tax refunds, and contacting the prosecutor’s office to start a Felony case against the payor. These are especially effective for individuals who work “under the table” and do not have wages which can be withheld in the traditional sense.
If you are the payor, do not ignore your obligation! Child support cannot be modified retroactively, so the second that you have a change in your financial circumstances, you should address this with a child support motion. The Court, in general, will not consider the facts about why you haven’t paid and focuses more on the failure to pay and how to get payments made in the future. I highly suggest hiring an experienced attorney to attend a Show Cause hearing with you, since the consequences can include jail!
If you need help enforcing your child support order, or need help because you are facing a hearing to address your own arrears do not hesitate to contact our office today! (313) 945-9050.