If a couple has children and then divorces, one will likely be required to pay child support to the other. Child support is payable until the child is 21 and this money is meant to pay for their needs. It covers things like food, and clothing, and is required by law. However, sometimes the non-custodial parent will refuse to pay child support. Not only is this illegal, but it can also put the other parent in a very difficult situation. Without a partner, they might rely on child support in order to take care of their children. Motherhood can be hard enough without losing the money you rely on.
If a parent refuses to pay child support, there are some steps you can take in order to resolve the situation.
Have a Conversation
If you and the other parent are on good enough terms to talk to each other, you should go to them before doing anything else. If they’ve suddenly stopped paying child support, there might be a reason for it. They could have lost a job or gone into addiction treatment. While this does not absolve them of the requirement to pay child support, it is an understandable situation. If this is the case, you should talk to each other and try to figure out a plan. Try to remain cordial, especially if they are dealing with health or addiction issues. Early recovery is a time of high relapse risks. The more support someone has, the better their results will be. But if you can figure out a plan without getting the courts involved, it will be easier for everybody involved.
Don’t put yourself in danger in order to have this conversation. If your former partner was abusive, stay away from them. About 90% of civil petitions for domestic violence restraining orders are granted, as well as many police requests for an emergency domestic violence restraining orders. If you are in this situation, follow the rules of your restraining order and don’t go near your former partner.
Get a Lawyer
Sometimes you can’t talk to the other parent if they’ve stopped paying child support or the talk won’t go well. If talking to the other parent does not work out, the next step is to hire a lawyer. Child support and custody are arranged by the courts. It is not an unofficial agreement between two parents instead, it is a legally binding contract. By hiring a lawyer to help you, you acknowledge the seriousness of the situation and acquire a resource to help you settle it in a professional and legal manner. When you hire a lawyer, make sure that you get one who specializes in family law. They will be able to help you navigate your situation in a way that is legally sound and gets your children what they need.
Follow the Lawyer’s Advice
Once you have a lawyer, you need to listen to them. During motherhood, you want what is best for your children and you want it as soon as possible. So it might seem like the lawyer is working too slowly and you should take matters into your own hands. Don’t do this. If you make a mistake, you could end up in legal trouble as well. Instead, make sure you listen to your lawyer’s instructions. If you’re unsure why they want you to do something, ask for an explanation. But don’t just hire a lawyer and then go off and do your own thing.
Motherhood is difficult and can be even more so when there are child support problems. If your child’s other parent isn’t paying child support, you need to figure out how to get them to pay it. Do so legally and work with a lawyer. That way, you’ll be sure to fulfill your own legal obligations.