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

If you and your ex have a child together, odds are you share the financial responsibility for that child as well. Caring for children can be expensive—between medical care, food, toys, after-school programs, and other activities, the bills can pile up quite easily. In order to ensure that your child receives the type of upbringing he or she deserves, it’s important for both parents to contribute financially. In any divorce or separation, most parents come up with a child support plan where one parent pays the other, the primary caretaker, a certain amount for the child’s upkeep. However, if the paying parent misses payments or underpays, it could significantly impact the life of the child. Also, it could make things extremely challenging for you, the child’s primary caretaker.

In most cases, parents should have court orders dictating the specific amount, due date, and duration of child support. If a court order for child support exists, yet your ex still refuses to pay, you have every right to pursue legal action to retain the funds your child deserves.

Outstanding child support payments shouldn’t be taken lightly. If your ex owes you money for the care of your child, make sure you know your legal options.

Was a Child Support Arrangement Established?

After a divorce or separation, parents must make a parenting plan, which outlines the specific rules regarding the care of their child. Within that parenting plan, most parents plan for child support payment plans. If you only have a verbal agreement with your ex, rather than an official court order, you have significantly less power over any missing or inadequate payments.

An official court order for child support is much more enforceable and official, any non-legal agreement you entered into with your ex could be disputed in an inconclusive he-said-she-said argument. In order to enforce those child support payments, you first need to establish an official court order for child support. If you haven’t already, you need to take your child support issue before a judge.

You Have Legal Options

If you have a court order for child support, there are a few things you can do to enforce that order. First of all, you should talk to your ex to try to work the problem out. If your ex refuses to pay, or if you aren’t able to get into contact with them, your next step should be to call your family lawyer. An experienced family law attorney will be able to tell you what your options are, depending on your specific situation. In most cases, you should be able to petition the court for support.

When you go to the court, the judge may hold your ex in contempt of court for failing to follow the child support orders. Because child support orders are legally binding documents, your ex is ignoring the court by failing to follow their orders. Once they are held in contempt of court, your ex will be required to pay what they owe you in child support payments, or they could face serious consequences. Being held in contempt of court could result in additional expenses, such as legal fines, and it can even lead to jail time. Also, the court could withhold certain payments to the delinquent party, including tax returns.

If your ex stopped paying child support, our firm is prepared to help. We understand how emotionally and financially taxing this type of situation can be, and we want to help you seek justice.

Contact Chung & Ignacio, LLP to speak with our Rancho Cucamonga family law attorneys today.