What to Do When the Child Support Checks Stop Coming
Providing for a child’s necessities is getting more expensive by the year, with the average cost topping $245,000 to cover expenses until the child reaches 18. That amount of money is significant for all parents, but is particularly so when one parent provides the bulk of childcare following a divorce or separation. Child support, an often disputed aspect of family law, is a key component of financial stability for almost all single parents, and the ability of these parents to raise their child in the best way possible is often tied to receiving regular child support payments. Most non-custodial parents realize the importance of child support and make sure it is paid in full and on time. Unfortunately, though, there are some non-custodial parents that fail to pay on time or stop paying altogether. A recent article in the Orlando Sentinel shows how desperate some parents become to get the back child support they are owed. A couple is accused of conducting an elaborate scheme to steal $109,000 from the Department of Revenue by submitting fraudulent checks in the names of parents behind on their child support. The couple sought out custodial parents and promised to help them collect the amounts owed in exchange for taking a percentage of the child support the parents received. While it is easy to understand the frustration that led these parents to believe the claims of the accused couple, using the established legal avenues in place to address the problem is a much better approach.
Requesting Enforcement of a Child Support Order
Typically, child support payments stop coming when a non-custodial parent quits or loses his/her job or leaves the area. This scenario is the most repeated because the vast majority of child support orders include an order for income withholding from the non-custodial parent. This requires the employer to withhold the child support from the parent’s paycheck and directly submit the funds to the Department of Revenue for dispersal to the custodial parent. When this order is not enough to collect child support, the custodial parent can work with a family law attorney to seek additional enforcement measures. The attorney will file a petition with the court asking for additional enforcement and/or civil contempt proceedings to force the non-custodial parent to pay. Alternatively, if the Department of Revenue originally participated in the issuance of the child support order, a parent can ask the Department to help them collect arrears, but the Department handles thousands of these requests, so communication and promptness in resolving this issue will be a constant challenge.
Court Ordered Remedies to Compel Payment
A court has many options at its disposal to induce a parent to pay the required child support. Some of these remedies include:
- suspension of a driver’s license;
- seizing the parent’s federal tax refund;
- ordering the parent to seek employment;
- intercepting workers’ compensation or unemployment benefits;
- putting a negative report of non-payment on the parent’s credit report; and
- putting the parent in jail until all back child support is paid.
Consult a Family Law Attorney
If you are having problems receiving child support from your child’s other parent, talk with a family law attorney to learn about the options available to force payment. The Tampa law firm of Bubley & Bubley, P.A. understands the importance of this money and will work to collect what you are owed. Contact us to schedule a consultation.