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What Happens If a Spouse Doesn't Pay Child Support?

Custodial parents often struggle to get child support payments out of their ex-spouses. In fact, statistics show that in 2011 alone, unpaid child support payments totaled around $100 billion.

Options for collecting overdue support payments

While it can be challenging to get overdue child support from an uncooperative ex-spouse, a custodial parents has a variety of options and resource available to collect overdue payments. It's important to note that if you don't do anything to pursue payments, you'll probably never receive them. Government agencies devoted to enforcing child support payment rulings typically won't kick into action until they are contacted and notified by the custodial parent who is not receiving payments. 

The following are a few things you can do to get overdue payments. Most of these options will require you to consult with a child support attorney or a representative from a government agency like the Office of Child Support Enforcement  beforehand for help with carrying out these processes. It's also important to note that the following processes can only help custodial parents if two conditions are met: the location of the ex-spouse is known and the ex-spouse is employed and/or has the means to pay the child support debt.

  • Submit an income withholding order to the ex-spouse's employer- The wages of an ex-spouse can be garnished and put toward overdue child support payments. 
  • Notify the IRS so tax refunds are withheld- If the ex-spouse is due for a federal or state tax return, this return can be garnished by the IRS or a state department of taxation to pay some or all of the overdue child support debt. 
  • Seizing the ex-spouse's property- If the ex-spouse owns property that's worth money, he or she is obligated to use these assets to help pay off child support debt. Therefore, his or her property can be seized by a local child support agency. 
  • Suspending the ex-spouse's business license- If the ex-spouse is in a profession like medicine or education, he or she can be compelled to make payments a professional license suspension. 

If you are looking for a trusted family law attorney to help you with your case, trust the Law Office of John R Rinn. For years, we have helped families going through divorce to reach decisions in a timely and professional manner. Contact us for a consultation today!

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