What to do when your Ex Is not Paying Child Support/Alimony

Obviously, in a divorce scenario with children there are a lot of difficult emotions for everyone involved. Even after the divorce is finalized and the terms are set, it may be difficult to communicate with your ex-spouse due to the strained nature of the relationship. It is important however, to remember that the terms handed down by a judge are enforceable by law, and if a person responsible for paying child support or alimony is falling behind or neglecting to do so completely—there are options.

Failure to pay alimony or child support is open negligence of a court order. Courts do not like when people do not abide by their orders, so your first step should be to acquire legal help. A family law attorney will put the necessary wheels in motion to resolve your ex’s lack of payment in one way or another. Generally the situation will resolve in one of three ways: a lawsuit in civil court, a settlement outside of the court, or direct wage garnishment.

Whichever of these scenarios play out, it will be of utmost importance to have an attorney present. In court, or in any kind of settlement mediation, the presence of a counselor on your behalf will pay for itself by getting you a better deal.

The law is cut and dry in these cases, failure to pay or come to a settlement of alimony or child support will necessarily lead to one of the following:
Wage garnishment
Withholding of tax refunds until support is paid
Seizure of property
Suspending of business, occupational or even driver’s license

It should be mentioned that a jail term could be levied. In general this is a very last resort, as a jailed ex-spouse will usually not be helping pay the child support from jail, which is counterproductive to the whole case.

With such high emotional and financial stress in situations such as these, it can be difficult to navigate with a cool head. It will behoove you to consult a family law attorney who can be a cool-headed navigator of these stressful waters.