My Ex Owes Back Child Support. What Legal Options Do I Have?
Raising a child today is expensive enough in a two-parent family, but that struggle can be twice as hard for a single-parent household. The purpose of court-ordered child support by the noncustodial parent is to help provide the child with the things they need to keep them healthy and safe. However, not all paying parents make child support their priority and fail to make payments. What recourse do custodial parents have in these situations and can a family lawyer help?
Enforcing a Current Order
Each state has its own laws regarding how child support is calculated, how it should be paid, and what the consequences are for failing to pay. In some states, it is the district attorney’s office that will step in to enforce the order, while in other states, there is a state agency set up strictly for enforcing child support orders.
No matter who is in charge of enforcement, most states have fairly similar enforcement methods. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Garnishing the delinquent parent’s wages
- Suspending the delinquent parent’s driver’s license
- Suspending any professional licenses the delinquent parent has, such as real estate, medical, etc.
- Placing a lien on any real property the delinquent parent owns
- Withholding any tax refund the delinquent parent is owed
- Interception of any lottery winnings by the delinquent parent
Before taking any action, the government entity in charge of child support enforcement will contact the delinquent parent to see if an acceptable payment arrangement can be made. If this fails to produce positive results, the agency will begin taking the appropriate steps to collect the back child support. Incarceration is usually the last step taken; however, it can be done.
When Should I Call an Attorney?
Although every parent is able to utilize the state system to collect back child support owed to them, the truth in many states is that there is a backlog of cases and it can take months and months – if not years – for a parent to begin to see some of the money owed to them. This is why many parents in this situation will retain the services of a family lawyer to petition the family court directly for action.
One option is to file a contempt of court petition against the non-paying parent. The courts can take the same steps that the state takes, including suspending licenses and incarceration, but the timeframe of their bringing action in your case is often much quicker.
To find out how our law firm can help you obtain the back child support you are owed, contact our office today to meet with one of our dedicated child support attorneys.
Contact a Family Law Firm Today
To find out what legal options there are to help you obtain the back child support you are owed, call an experienced attorney, like a Rockville MD family lawyer from a law firm like The Law Office of Daniel J. Wright.