Once a child support order is established by the court it is natural to hope the money will be received by the custodial parent on a consistent basis. This scenario does not always play out and the custodial parent finds the promised funds do not materialize at the time expected. If the payments for your children’s support are late more often than not there are a number of steps you can take to normalize the situation and provide for your children.
Try A Friendly Discussion
It may be there is a short term problem or emergency preventing timely payment. If you are on reasonably good terms with your children’s other parent contact him or her in a friendly way to see if the late payments are simply an oversight or the result of a temporary financial issue. As much as you may need the monetary support your children will always benefit from a cooperative dynamic between their parents.
Working together with your ex-spouse or partner to get the support payments made on a regular basis may also result in fewer problems with support going forward. Avoid any temptation to involve your children in an investigation of why the support payments are late. If the relationship you have with your children’s other parent is difficult at this point feel free to move to one of the following suggestions.
Contact Your Local Child Support Enforcement Agency
Your state, county or other local governmental body is likely to have a centralized system to assist custodial parents who are owed child support. If your payments are court ordered this is a initial portal into what may be many different methods to collect the cash child support and ensure other orders are followed such as providing health and life insurance for the benefit of your children.
The availability and breadth of the services will vary from state to state. Often this assistance is available to custodial parents without charge, but this may not be the case in all areas. Most states will assist with contacting the supporting parent and many will use a variety of legal remedies to ensure non-paying parents who owe support begin meeting their obligations. If you are receiving public assistance you may be required to use this system.
Common avenues used to get money flowing on a regular basis to the custodial parent include wage garnishments or other direct payments from the supporting parent’s employer to the custodial parent. If the parent who owes child support has no employer your local agency may bill monthly or use other methods to remind of the obligation.
If non-paying parent has sources of income other than wages your state or local agency may be able to initiate withholding from those sources. Common examples include workers or unemployment compensation or social security or veterans benefits. It is also possible that court ordered support benefits could be withheld from pension benefits or annuities.
Reporting the non-payment to credit bureaus is sometimes used and can be effective if the non-paying parent relies on lines of credit in a business or to get other loans. Diversion of state and other local tax refunds as well as federal tax refunds can sometimes occur to satisfy unpaid child support. Passports can be revoked and liens placed upon real estate and personal property to pay arrears in support. Some states will revoke drivers licenses or other certifications when non-support is established.
Contact An Attorney
Consider contacting the attorney who assisted with the original support order if you find regular payments are not forthcoming. You may also want look for an attorney who specializes in collecting support. Many of the remedies described above may be available to the custodial parent with the help of an attorney. Additional motions may need to be filed with the court to initiate the legal remedies and are best managed by legal counsel experienced with child support collection matters.
What If No Child Support Order Exists?
If you have been relying upon an informal child support arrangement that has fallen through your best course is to consult an attorney to establish a court order for support. Until a court order exists all of the remedies described may be unavailable to you. The Law Office of Robert F. Carbone is available to help you, contact us today.