Fiori Law Office

My ex is behind on child support: What are my options?

When your ex fails to pay the full amount of child support due, it's important to report the issue to the court as soon as possible. You can also turn to your local district attorney's office for help with enforcing your child support orders.

The Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984 empowers district attorneys to assist parents who are owed child support. The district attorney will serve the delinquent parent with legal papers to arrange a payment plan.

The delinquent parent could be threatened with jail time

The child support papers that the delinquent parent receives may issue the threat of jail time if he or she fails to meet the payment obligations. The problem is, sending a delinquent parent to jail is not very productive in terms of getting the other parent paid. In jail, the delinquent parent won't be able to earn an income to pay the child support. As such, district attorneys generally reserve jail time as a last resort punishment.

Here are some other strategies district attorneys employ to enforce a child support order:

  • Withholding money from federal tax refunds to pay back child support owed
  • Wage garnishing
  • Seizure of personal property
  • Suspension of a parent's professional licenses
  • Suspension of a parent's business licenses
  • Revocation of a driver's license
  • Denying the issuance of a delinquent parent's passport in cases where the parent owes over $2,500

The National Child Support Enforcement Association

The National Child Support Enforcement Association has created a list of agencies that can help parents who haven't received their child support money. These agencies are available to offer information, guidance and assistance that can be invaluable in these cases.

If you're a parent who hasn't received the child support money you're owed, the most important thing to remember is this: The law is on your side. Don't give up in your fight to hold the other parent of your child legally accountable for the money he or she owes you. Not only is your quality of life at stake, but your child's quality of life is also on the line.

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Fiori Law Office, Inc.
731 West Main Street
Auburn, WA 98001

Phone: 253-218-3728
Fax: 253-735-3436
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