Child support is one of the first things that will need to be discussed during divorce proceedings, as it’s crucial to ensure that the child can grow up in the best environment possible. If one parent ignores their responsibility to their child or children after a divorce, the child and the parent with custody will be put at a major disadvantage. However, even if a court order tells one parent to pay their share of child support, they won’t necessarily follow it, regardless of whatever legal consequences may follow. If you are getting a divorce, it’s imperative that you know what to do in a situation like this so you and your child won’t end up with a financial crisis on your hands.
Listed below are two things you can do if your ex stops paying for child support.
Discuss the Issue with Your Ex First
The first step you should take is to discuss things with your ex first as it may be just an honest mistake on his or her part. Also, there are cases in which the court will reduce or eliminate the requirement for child support entirely, such as when one parent is legally bankrupt or if they are not in any condition (physical or otherwise) to pay it. If your ex is in a coma, of course, they won’t be able to send you the money.
One thing you need to keep in mind during these discussions is that you need to make sure that you and your child are safe throughout the process. If you ever feel threatened at any point, you should put some distance between yourself and your ex and call 911 if necessary.
If your ex refuses to follow the child support agreement out of spite, you can involve your lawyer in the discussions. Your lawyer can talk to your ex’s lawyer to see what the problem is. Your lawyer can find out if there are extenuating circumstances preventing your ex from keeping up with the child support payments. For example, they may have found a loophole that they think they can use to get out of paying child support. If this is the case, it’s in your best interest to take your case to court.
Take the Case to Court
If negotiations don’t bear fruit, then it’s in your best interest to file a court order to force them to pay child support according to the agreements that were reached previously. It’s often highly favorable for the party with full custody to demand payment from the other party, as the child support terms will have already been established. If one party decides to break the terms made during the divorce agreement, they will most likely face legal repercussions.
The court will first issue an order via mail which your ex needs to respond to. If they don’t follow such court orders, they might face hefty fines, seizure of property, or even jail time in some cases. If you’re the party who’s supposed to be paying for child support and you have recently become unable to, you need to make sure that the court and your ex understand your situation so that you can settle on new terms. If you neglect to do this, you will face legal consequences on top of your current financial hardships.
Shepherd and Associates can be of assistance in divorce, mediation and child support negotiations – get in touch today to see how we can help