After your divorce, you may have found some comfort in knowing that you will not be the only one contributing to the expenses related to raising your children. A court order for your ex-spouse to pay child support is a powerful tool to help alleviate financial burdens, especially if you have been awarded primary or sole physical custody. But what was once a source of relief can become another headache and point of contention if your ex-spouse stops paying child support. So what can you do to set things right again?
First of all, let us clarify that no wicked intent is necessary to utilize any of the following steps to get the child support payment installations you deserve. Whether your ex cut off payments out of spite or runs into financial straits of their own, you retain the right to pursue what has not been given. It also pays to remember that child support payments are for the benefit of your child. Don’t be quick to give leniency through pity to your ex when that could mean taking food of your child’s plate or school supplies out of their bag. The court orders that specific amount of child support each month because it was reasonable, so stick to your guns and insist that you get it, which brings us to our next point.
The Enforcement of Court Orders
The court does not like to be contradicted. If your ex-spouse has stopped holding up their end of a court order, you can go back to that same court and let them know. A judge can decide what should be done next to correct the issue, or even penalize your ex, by following a guideline of court order enforcements.
Options that can be weighed include:
- Tax withholdings: If it is close to tax time, the judge may decide that a portion of their tax return be kept from them and given directly to you instead.
- Wage garnishment: Each week, your ex might see deductions in their paychecks equivalent to how much they should be giving you in child support payments.
- Administrative penalties: The court can let your ex know it is unhappy with their decision to cut payments by suspending their license, freezing their passport, and a few other administrative penalties.
- Criminal penalty: In rare situations, a person who intentionally refuses to pay child support when they have the means to do so could be put in jail for a few days or weeks. This is hardly used as it does little to actually resolve the matter.
Of course, you don’t have to leap right for the big guns at the first sign of trouble from your ex. You can attempt to resolve things peacefully outside of court. If you do, it is highly recommended that you A) keep detailed records of any correspondences and B) hire a family law attorney to be there during any negotiations or discussions. The last thing you need is to accidentally agree to something that makes the situation even worse, and a lawyer’s legal knowledge and ensure that doesn’t happen.
For more information, call 845.605.4330 to connect with the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC. Our Dutchess County divorce attorneys can help you understand your rights during a case evaluation.