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What to Do When Your Ex Won’t Pay Child Support

What to Do When Your Ex Won’t Pay Child Support

It’s a frustrating situation: Your ex refuses to pay a dime in child support. You know they are working.  You’re financially on your own while caring for a child. No one wants to find themselves in this position. What do you do?

First, please know that you have not reached a dead-end and that there are ways to collect. There are steps you can take to get your ex to pay child support. Your first step, which you’re doing right now, is to educate yourself on what you have control over to resolve the situation.

When your ex won’t pay child support, here’s what you can do:

Have a Civil Conversation

Before going the legal route, make sure you cover all of your bases with your ex. Sit down and talk about why he or she isn’t paying the child support. Are there circumstances that are out of your ex’s control? Is it a temporary circumstance, or a permanent one? Is your ex simply not paying because they don’t want to? The answers to these questions can help you determine if your next step should involve an attorney.  If you make a temporary agreement, put it in writing!

Find a Family Law Attorney

Finding the right attorney is the most important step because this person will guide you through the entire process. He or she will tell you exactly what you need to do next in more detail.  In certain circumstances, you will be able to recover much or all of your attorney fees.

Keep Track of All Non-Payments

Your attorney will need proof that your ex has not been paying child support. Obtain a copy of your payment history from the Child Support Enforcement Agency.  Without proof to show the court, it’s your word against the other parent’s word. Gather records that prove nonpayment (like bank statements) that show that no money from your ex has been deposited into your account.

Enforce Your Court or Administrative Order-File Contempt

Working with your family law attorney, you can request that the court serve your ex with papers dictating they be held in contempt of court and sent to jail for refusing to pay their support even though they can.  The Court will first attempt to see if you and your ex can come up with an agreement.  If not, there will he a hearing on whether or not your ex can pay the current order.

Enforce Other Consequences

Since going to jail means lost income and the inability to pay child support (which defeats the purpose of this endeavor), it’s usually used as a last-resort consequence for not paying. You may want to talk to your lawyer about using other consequences that help you reach your end goal, such as:

Many of the above can also be accomplished by contacting your case worker, if it is a child support only matter.  Of course, all of these consequences are less than ideal, but they may get the point across that you are serious and will not back down. Talk to your attorney about the best route to take and what you need to do to make it happen.

Columbus Ohio Divorce Lawyer

The Law Offices of Kenneth R. Kline LLC [1] is honored to work with both traditional and non-traditional families to assist them through extraordinarily difficult times. Please contact us [2] with any questions.