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

May 10, 2023
By Alternative Divorce Solutions

Child support payments are intended to better the lives of children whose parents are no longer together. Unfortunately, some parents aren’t as willing to make those payments as others. In most cases, the court will order one parent to pay child support to the other, usually the parent who the child lives with, so as to help with the cost of raising the child. Because child support is usually court-ordered, the paying parent is obligated to continue making those payments until the child reaches the age of 18. If, for any reason, the paying parent misses a payment without first seeking a modification, you can take action to obtain the money your child is owed.

If you are dealing with a child support issue, you aren’t alone. Parents throughout California struggle to obtain the payments their exes owe them. Missed child support is a common problem, especially for single parents who primarily raise their child on their own. But, when it comes to the welfare of your child, you have a right to fight for the financial assistance that is their right. It can sometimes be difficult to obtain payments from your ex, but there are things you can do to take a stand.

If your ex refuses to pay child support, find out what you can do to obtain the money you and your child are owed.

Try Discussing the Issue

First and foremost, you want to try to discuss the missed payments with your ex. There is a small chance he or she simply forgot, especially if they have been particularly busy, and can simply pay you what they owe. Or, they may be going through difficult financial times and may be able to pay you in smaller increments until the owed amount is paid back to you. However, all changes or alterations should still be signed off on by the court so that all arrangements remain legally binding. If your ex needs to modify what he or she pays, they must petition the court for a modification, even if the two of you have already reached an agreement.

Either way, if you are able to settle the matter in a civil manner, without a contentious legal battle, it could make things significantly easier for both of you. Not only could it save you money, it can also help you and your ex maintain a healthy relationship as co-parents.

If, however, you are not on good terms with your spouse, especially if he or she has a history of domestic violence or combative behavior, you may wish to skip this step. Instead, try reaching out via email or over the phone. If you ever feel your safety may be at risk, contact your attorney or call 911 immediately.

Enforce Court Orders

Once you’ve tried to discuss the delayed support payments with your ex, there is little else you can do besides taking legal action. Talk to your family law attorney about your situation, and he or she is likely to suggest enforcing the court orders. Court orders, including court-ordered child support, are legally binding and should not be ignored for any reason. By refusing to pay, your ex has broken court orders, and could, therefore, face legal penalties.

In order to enforce any court orders, you must ask the court for interference. It’s also useful to note that the court can help enforce other issues of noncompliance as well, including child custody terms, visitation, and spousal support issues. If your ex still refuses to pay after the court has interfered, there are several things they can do to pressure them towards compliance. To start, the court could withhold federal tax refunds, withhold wages, seize property, revoke their driver’s license, or suspend their occupational or business license. In extreme cases, especially when the individual owes a large sum, the court may even send them to jail.

If you are dealing with a child custody issue, our firm is here to help. Contact Alternative Divorce Solutions to request a free consultation with our Orange County mediation attorneys.


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