It is incumbent on both parents to financially support their children after a divorce. This is why the non-custodial parent is ordered to make child support payments, which are intended to foster a safe and secure living environment for the child. In the event that a parent refuses to make payments as ordered, the Administration for Children & Families makes the following recommendations.
When payments are late or non-existent, the first step is to contact the court responsible for issuing the child support order. Income withholding is one option, and this entails taking money directly from the parent’s paycheck. This can apply to both current payments as well as those in arrears, or back payments. Keep in mind that only a certain portion of a person’s check can be withheld. For people who are paid in cash, or under the table, income withholding is ineffective. In this case, there may be other options.
If the non-custodial parent owns property, a lien can be placed on it. In most cases, property will not be liquidated to make payments. Instead, liens prevent the owner from selling the property or borrowing against the equity until all child support payments are made. Depending on the state, property may be seized or used as a guarantee that payments will be made. If they are not made in the time allotted, the non-custodial parent would be required to forfeit the property.
If your ex is unemployed or has filed for bankruptcy, there are still options in place. Unemployment compensation can also be garnished, as can state and federal benefits. Additionally, child support is usually not discharged during bankruptcy proceedings except under very specific circumstances. If you are unsure how to proceed, you may want to contact a family law attorney to learn more about your options.