When you share a child with someone and the relationship ends, you need to know that your child’s needs will be covered through child support. While initially, things might be going great and you get regular payments from your ex, what happens if he or she stops submitting payments?
Fortunately, you have legal options to get your ex to pay.
1. Obtain a Child Support Order from the Court
Before you can take any action against your ex, you need to make sure you have a judge-signed order that requires your ex to pay you child support. This should include the amount and frequency the payments need to be made. If you already have an order, then you can start gathering evidence to prove your ex is violating a judicial order.
Prove Your Ex Missed Payments
Gather your financial statements that prove your ex did not submit child support payments. He or she should be paying in a traceable manner, whether it’s by check, money order, or a direct transfer into your account. Your lawyer will need your checking account records to pursue legal action.
Ask the Court to Enforce Your Child Support Order
Once you have evidence to prove your ex missed payments, you can ask the court to take action against him or her. Your family law attorney can represent you in court and ask for the court to enforce the child support payments, or even hold him or her in contempt for violating the agreement.
Request a Hearing
Once your attorney files a motion, and the court has set a date for the hearing, the paperwork must be delivered to your ex. Before the hearing, you and your attorney will provide evidence to the judge to show your ex missed court-mandated child support payments. If the judge agrees with your argument, he or she will likely require your ex to submit a specific amount of money to you by a deadline. The judge can also assess penalties against your ex. These can include paying the legal fees for the hearing, a fine, or he or she could even threaten him or her with an arrest warrant if he or she fails to submit the payment by the deadline.
While these steps will fix a one-time issue with your ex, you may need to seek other legal options if it becomes an ongoing problem.
Withhold Income or Garnish Wages: If your ex continues to miss child support payments, you can go after his or her wages by pursuing an income withholding order. This requires an employer to automatically deduct money each month from your ex’s paychecks to cover the owed child support. Your family law attorney can request this from a judge. You can also ask a judge to garnish your ex’s wages. This differs from withholding income, in that you can only seek future payments, not past-due payments. Money can be automatically taken from your ex’s bank account. This gives you access to all deposits in his or her account, not just wages.
Liquify Assets: If your ex is refusing to pay, another option is to request that they sell their assets to get enough cash to pay you the owed child support. Your family law attorney needs to file a motion with the court to make this request.
Put a Lien on Their Property: If your ex’s money is tied up in real estate investments, you can ask the court to put a lien on the property. This prevents your ex from selling the property until the child support debt is paid off.
Attorneys Deirdre Kingsbury and Noreen Evans understand the complexities of family law cases and how children can be caught in the middle. They can explain your options when it comes to collecting child support. At Evans Kingsbury LLP, we are family lawyers with decades of experience, including family trials and settlements. Call us today at (707) 596-6090 or fill out our easy contact form to discuss your case.