3 Tips For Collecting Unpaid Child Support

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3 Tips For Collecting Unpaid Child Support

16 September 2015
 Categories: , Blog

Do you have an ex-spouse who owes you child support? Has the former spouse fallen behind and failed to make payments for the past several months? When you don't receive child support from a former spouse, you can quickly find yourself in a tight financial situation. While there are a number of tools at your disposal, it can still be difficult to collect back child support, especially if the other parent is simply unwilling or unable to pay. Here are three tips to help you manage the situation and get some child support coming back in the door:

Keep them involved in the child's life. Many custodial parents are tempted to cut off contact with the child if the non-custodial parent falls behind on support. It's an understandable feeling. After all, if they're not supporting the child, why should they get to remain involved? However, cutting off time with the child could backfire on you.

First, it could emotionally harm the child, especially if he or she has a strong bond with the other parent. However, you also may be breaking the law by denying visitation. Your custody agreement with the other parent is a legal document. Just because they're behind on child support doesn't necessarily give you the right to break the custody agreement.

There's also a practical reason to keep the other parent in the child's life. By staying involved, the other parent may be more motivated to make at least some form of payment. If you take the child out of their life, the child may soon become a lower priority for them and they may lose desire to catch up on payments.

Consider negotiating with the other parent. There could be a very good reason why the other parent isn't making payments. Maybe they recently lost their job. Maybe they suffered an injury that limited their ability to work. If they own their own business, maybe they're going through a tough stretch. While it may not be fair that they can't make payments to you, keep in mind that if they go to jail, it's probably even less likely that you'll get any kind of payment.

While the courts will generally get involved after a parent goes several months without making a payment, many courts will happily allow the two parents to work out some kind of temporary arrangement to avoid further legal proceedings. See if you and the other parent can work out a deal for partial payment until he or she gets back on their feet. Accepting a reduced amount may not be ideal, but getting some level of support is better than getting nothing at all.

Get your lawyer involved. At some point, you may find it necessary to get your lawyer involved. This usually happens when the other parent goes months without making payment. After all, it probably doesn't make sense to pay legal fees to collect a few hundred dollars. When the outstanding balance gets into the thousands, though, a family lawyer could be a good option.

The lawyer can negotiate with the other parent to get some form of payment. The lawyer could also work with law enforcement officials to garner wages and possibly even have the other parent arrested.

For more information, talk to your divorce lawyer. He or she can advise you on how to take the next steps.