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What can you do when your ex won’t pay child support?

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2021 | Family Law |

Children are expensive. Depending on their age, they might eat huge amounts of food, constantly ask for expensive technological gadgets, and need supplies for school and sports. Even if you manage your household on a tight budget, kids have a knack for producing unexpected expenses by falling off their bike and breaking an arm, or tossing the dog’s tennis ball through a neighbor’s window.

Adjusting to shared custody as the parent with more parenting time after a Kentucky divorce often requires massive changes to your budget and daily schedule. You probably depend on your ex for both their parenting time as respite for you and their support as a means of closing the gaps in your budget.

When your ex doesn’t pay child support like they should, you may be the one who can’t send a check to your mortgage provider or pay the power bill on time. What do you do when your ex isn’t paying court-ordered child support?

You could reach out to your ex to discuss the issue

When your ex is more than a week or two behind in child support payments, you might want to try communicating with them to see if something troubling has taken place. Perhaps they lost their job or got laid off temporarily. Maybe they changed their job and their new employer hasn’t paid them yet or begun proper withholding for child support.

Sometimes, the only thing needed to resolve the issue is to talk with the other party and find out how quickly they plan to make things right. Try to be compassionate instead of accusatory in your approach. Sending written communication via a parenting app can be a way to protect yourself from abusive responses while documenting that you’ve made an effort.

You can ask the courts for enforcement assistance

When your ex is substantially behind in child support obligations, you can ask the courts to order enforcement, especially if your ex has a source of income but still refuses to pay. The courts can take multiple steps to motivate non-compliant parents to pay child support.

Different enforcement options can help people in different situations. For example, the courts can:

  • Place a lien against someone’s personal property
  • Take court action and sentence them to jail time
  • Deny the non-compliant party a passport
  • Intercept tax returns
  • Revoke or deny driver’s, recreational and professional licenses
  • Levy bank accounts
  • Withhold or deny unemployment benefits

The resources your ex has and their excuse for non-payment will influence which enforcement tactic is the best approach in your case. The more help you have when seeking enforcement efforts, the easier it will be for you to navigate this sometimes complicated system.