When a court orders a former partner to pay child support, the money is intended to help ensure your children have what they need. This typically means that the child support money is needed to pay a mortgage, electric bills, food, and other essentials, which is why it can be so devastating when they fall behind on their payments. If your ex has stopped paying child support for any reason, there are some things that you can do to get them started again.
Contact Your Ex
In most situations the first thing you should do is reach out to your ex to try to find out why the payments have stopped. Ideally this should be done via text or email, so you have documentation of the conversation. The reason why they are not paying often has a big influence on what your next steps are. For example, it may be an innocent mistake caused by a change in banks that halted an automatic draft. It could also be a reason beyond their control, such as a job loss. Even if this initial contact does not resolve the situation, knowing their reasoning will help.
Of course, if your ex is violent or otherwise abusive, contacting them on your own is not a good idea. If you are in this type of situation, skip this step entirely.
Documenting everything you can throughout this process is critical. If you speak with your ex, record it and save the recordings in case they are needed. If you send a text or email, save them in a safe location. Perhaps most importantly, if your ex makes any payments (including partial payments or payments in cash) write it down. If it is safe, issue a receipt to your ex to further ensure there is no dispute about how much they paid or when the payment took place.
Contact Your Attorney
If your ex will not resume their payments, you should reach out to your attorney right away. While it can be tempting to wait a few weeks, or even months, to give them a chance to start paying, that is a mistake. The sooner you get in touch with your lawyer, the sooner things can get resolved. Your attorney will be able to petition the courts for enforcement or take other legal action to get the payments started again. Also, if you delay the process it will result in your ex falling even further behind in their obligation. This can make it even more likely that they will take further steps to avoid payments in the future.
Get the Courts Involved
If your ex refuses to start making payments even after your attorney has reached out to them, you will likely need to have the courts step in. Depending on your situation, the courts can take any number of actions, including the following: issue an income withholding order, garnish their wages, place a lien on their assets and even put them in jail.
When working with the courts, you will want to have your attorney there to ensure everything goes smoothly. Contact Akiona Law to discuss your options and decide how to best move forward today.