Child support can get complicated quickly. Child support guidelines broadly state that both parents are legally required to provide support. However, there are instances when one parent neglects to pay support. It can make life difficult, and budgeting for a child or children on one income isn’t right or fair - not to mention the fact that it’s a serious offense. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do if the other party is unemployed or won’t pay. Although they may serve jail time, it still won’t provide the much-needed income.
There are a few things that can be done to help. For one, don’t “punish” the other party by not letting them visit with the child or children. On the contrary, having the parent in the child’s life will more likely influence them to own up to their responsibilities (and will prevent further legal problems against you). Additionally, the child shouldn’t suffer because one of the parents can’t pay.
Another tip if you are owed child support is to try and work out some arrangement with your ex. Perhaps they can contribute in other ways, like tending to the children after school instead of you having to pay for an afterschool program. Or maybe they can afford to make a partial payment. Communication and choosing what battles to fight for the sake of the child or children will be more beneficial to all, rather than simply getting angry and refusing to compromise on anything.
If the situation is becoming too dire, contacting a lawyer and/or the courts may help. You can start by contacting the court in which the child support decision was made. The clerk should be able to help you, or at least inform you if child support was ordered. They should be able to provide a copy of the motion. There may also be a child support division of the local court system. They can provide advice and more information about your case. They may refer you to a child support collection agency.
However, one of the best ways of getting a personalized answer is to contact an attorney. In order to protect children, the law for child support is pretty straightforward and the sheriff can get involved after 6 months of no payment. From there, they can revoke licenses and try to work with the parent to find a solution. They may work out a wage garnishment system that will be deducted automatically. They can also file cases with a credit agency. It should be noted that they do have the jurisdiction to work with other agencies should the person move away. If nothing changes, they can eventually put the person in jail. Additionally, the Child Support Recovery Act is meant to enforce a person’s legal requirements to pay up. It becomes a federal misdemeanor if they fail to cooperate.
Being owed child support is a serious issue that can wreak havoc on all parties involved. To ensure that the right steps are taken, communication with an attorney is beneficial. Here at Estevez-Pazos Law Firm, we have the resources to help. If you have questions or concerns, contact The Estevez-Pazos Law Firm to discuss your options or call us at 305-717-7130 to set up an appointment.