What Can I Do If My Ex Stops Paying Child Support?

Once you and your ex have come to an agreement about your child support payments, it can be extremely frustrating and difficult when they refuse to pay. Child Support payments are always for the benefit of the child and are to be used to help support the expense of clothing, food, living, school supplies, and other essentials. When the noncustodial parent refuses to pay their portion, it can be difficult to afford for these daily necessities on your own. Not only is it unfair, but, if the child support was ordered by the court, refusing to pay is against the law.

If your ex refuses to pay child support, make sure you are aware of your rights and know what steps to take to obtain the money your child is owed.

Addressing the Problem

The first thing you should do if your ex misses a child support payment is to simply talk to them about it. Perhaps they’ve run into some financial difficulties or forgot to make the payment. In some cases, the issue really is as simple as that. In an ideal scenario, the two of you will be able to discuss the issue and come up with a resolution that works best for both of you.

However, talking it out doesn’t always work, especially if the other parent intentionally missed the payment. If your ex does not want to continue payments, thinks they are unfair, or argues that he or she cannot afford the payments any longer, then you may be able to work out a new agreement. Even if you are able to work it out amongst yourselves, make sure you seek a binding, legal change so that your rights are continually protected if your ex reneges on the agreement. If you cannot agree to new terms, your ex will have to take their issue to court for a formal modification. As a rule, unless the court has granted a legally binding modification to child support, the existing order still stands and they must pay what the court has ordered them to.

Enforcement of Court Orders

If talking about the issue didn’t work, your next best bet is to take legal action. Again, court-ordered child support is legally binding, and if your ex refuses to pay, they are breaking the law. For this reason, you can ask the courts for help if your ex is no longer giving you the required payments. Enforcement of court orders can also extend to issues of noncompliance with child custody terms, visitation, spousal support, or other legally binding agreements.

Failing to comply with court orders could result in several penalties, including the withholding of federal tax refunds, withheld wages, property seizure, driver’s license revocation, and the suspension of an occupational or business license. In extreme cases, usually when large sums have been withheld or child support has not been paid over an extended period of time, the guilty party could even face imprisonment.

If you are having trouble getting your ex to pay court-ordered child support, our firm can help. Contact Smith Law Offices, LLC to discuss your case with our St. Charles family law attorneys.

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