What Can I Do if My Ex Isn’t Paying Their Child Support?
In 2022, the Census Bureau shared an unfortunate truth for many Americans. According to a study in 2017, only about 46% of parents with child support agreements get what’s owed to them. This means that 54% of parents don’t receive the financial support they need to take care of their children. Even worse, 30% of parents get nothing at all. While this study was done a few years ago, the COVID-19 Outbreak caused a lot more financial hardships, affecting individuals and families even more. If you find yourself in a situation where you aren’t receiving the child support that the court ordered, it’s important that you fight for child support enforcement.
When your ex-spouse isn’t paying the court-ordered child support, their actions affect not just you but also your child. Financial struggles and the emotional struggles that come with them can quickly become overwhelming, but knowing your rights and fighting for them can give you both the finances you are owed and also can give you back some of the power you’ve lost. There are options to fight so that your ex starts paying child support, and even pay back pay.
By fighting for your rights to your owed child support, you are fighting for your and your children’s financial-wellbeing, which can create a more peaceful present and future for them. At Caleb Bland Law, PLLC, we proudly serve Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and the surrounding areas of Radcliffe, Shepherdsville, Bardstown, Louisville, and more. Reach out today and schedule a meeting with our child support attorney today.
Contempt Motion for Failing to Pay Child Support
A common way to fight for child support is by using a Motion for Contempt. Essentially, the Motion for Contempt is a process that a court uses to enforce a previous court order. A Motion for Contempt can only be used if four things are true:
The court order you’re attempting to enforce is clear, without confusing instructions.
The opposing party is not respecting or observing that court order. In this case, your ex-spouse is not paying the clearly appointed child support amount.
You have done things to encourage compliance with the court order. For example, you have written a letter, text, or email. While phone calls or in-person attempts can be great tools, verbal contracts are not able to prove that you encouraged compliance. Written attempts count as proof.
The other person (your ex) is purposefully refusing to comply. They have the capability to do so but choose to not respect the court order. If they do not have the capability to do so, they may request a modification of support.
The statute of limitations for delinquent child support payments is 30 days. If there is an amount of one month’s obligation due for more than thirty days, you can file a Motion for Contempt. For example, if a person owes $800/month, but only has paid $400 for two months, they owe $800 to meet their obligatory amount. After 30 days of owing $800, then a Motion for Contempt can be filed.
In Kentucky, there are legal forms that you can submit by yourself directly to the law. Some of these legal forms can be filled out with the guidance of a representative through the Department of Income Support through the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. No matter what your child support dispute entails, an experienced family law attorney can make all the difference.
Court Intervention for Non-Payment of Child Support
If the court finds the delinquent parent in contempt of their court order, there are several things that a judge may sentence to the defendant, including but not limited to:
Liquidation of assets.
Suspended licenses (including driver's licenses and professional licenses).
An Income Deduction Order, enforcing garnishment of wages. This means that you may receive a direct deposit from the other person’s paycheck.
Payment through a state agency.
Sometimes, the other parent will choose to fight against the amount they have to pay and apply for a modification of child support. Depending on their situation, this may be accepted. However, that parent will still be responsible for paying the changed amount, as well as all past-due payments.
Paying Past Due Child Support
If an ex-spouse hasn’t been consistently paying child support (or at all), they won’t just be ordered to pay in the future; they’ll also be ordered to pay back the past due child support, usually set on a schedule.
Past due child support is also known as child support arrears. Once a child support order is in place, that is the moment any sort of finances are legally expected to be paid from the other party – anything before an official agreement is nilled in the eye of the law, unless there was a retroactive child support order set in place by a judge. This means that, once the order has been set, getting behind on child support can create a huge build-up of unpaid finances, all of which is still owed to the other person.
Through your state agency, you can get support in the following ways:
Contacting the other parent if you have no contact with them or don’t know where they are.
Having an amount garnished through the other spouse’s pay.
Freezing bank accounts or seizing property.
Reporting issues to tax authorities.
Collecting past-due payments requires a process that can best be supported with the help of a child support attorney. Navigating the legalities by yourself can create confusion and frustration, and it may make the process take even longer. Having an attorney by your side can give you the confidence that your questions will be answered quickly and that your dispute will be settled effectively.
Experienced Guidance When You Need It Most
At Caleb Bland Law, PLLC, we are a multi-service firm with decades of combined experience. We know that you and your family are important, and so are the struggles you’re facing. Because of this, we take our knowledge and skills to strive to provide you with the attention you deserve. If you’re in the Elizabethtown, Kentucky, area – including Meade County, Breckinridge County, Jefferson County, and any other neighboring communities – contact our family law attorney today. Together, we can fight for a better future.