When a child support order was issued in your divorce case, you may have had some doubts about whether the support payments would actually come your way. It is also possible that you never expected that your ex would fail to pay child support. Either way, if you are in a situation where child support has been ordered and it is not arriving as it should, you are sure to be frustrated as well as concerned about your economic well-being.
It is not uncommon for post-judgment issues to arise in the area of child support. Even though a person who has been ordered to pay child support is under a legal obligation to do so, the creation of that legal obligation does not always cause the payments to begin flowing to the receiving parent. This puts the parent who should be receiving the payments in a difficult financial situation where they must try to make ends meet without what often amounts to a sizable portion of their expected monthly income.
Unfortunately, cases of unpaid child support are all too common. For example, in 2009, the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement estimated that Americans owed over one hundred million dollars in unpaid child support. Half of the unpaid amount was owed directly to the parents who should have been receiving payments, and the other half was owed to the government as repayment of the public assistance that had to be given to parents because they were not receiving the support that they were due.
If your child’s other parent has failed to pay child support as ordered, you can try to collect your child support through the legal process by contacting an attorney or the Office of Child Support Enforcement. Law enforcement has various methods that they use to collect child support, including garnishing wages, suspending professional licenses, suspending driver’s licenses, and sometimes even taking tax refunds. Non-paying parents can even, in some cases, be sent to jail.
When your children’s other parent does not pay child support as ordered, it can be tempting to tell them that they cannot see or talk to the kids until they pay. As tempting as it might be, you must not do it under any circumstances. Child support and family time are separate issues, and failing to abide by a parenting plan could get you into trouble with the court. Perhaps even more importantly, it is detrimental to the children. Children naturally want and need to have a relationship with both of their parents. Interfering with family time could also further decrease your chances of getting paid because parents who experience physical and emotional distance between themselves and their children often become uninterested in ensuring that their needs are met.
If your children’s other parent is not paying their child support as ordered, you may wonder what you can do in the short term to make ends meet until the payments start coming. One strategy is to leave the child support out of your monthly budget and make your household budget with only the income that you receive on your own, or with your new spouse or partner.
If you would like to learn more about your legal options regarding your Florida divorce or any other important family law matter, please contact the Law Offices of James S. Cunha, P.A. at (561) 429-3924 to schedule a consultation. We serve family law clients who are located throughout the West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Wellington, Jupiter, Palm Beach County, Broward County, Martin County areas.