Child Support FAQs for Nonpayers

Once you’ve decided to go after your ex in court for child support payments that are late, not made, or never made, you will be working within the legal confines of the court system. If you know what these are, or if you have a knowledgeable child support attorney by your side, you’ll have a much better idea of what you need to do and your expectations will be realistic. Having an experienced family law attorney and knowing the ropes can save you a significant amount of frustration as your legal case progresses.

Here some frequently asked questions regarding child support payments.

Can my ex be thrown in jail for not paying child support?
It’s a possibility. If your ex is not paying support on purpose and he or she has the means to pay it, then a judge may hold your ex in contempt of court, then throw him or her in jail. However, this is rare. The reason is that while your ex is in jail, he or she is not working. Consequently, throwing someone in jail for not paying child support is typically counter-productive. 

What potential penalties could my ex be subject to for not making child support payments?
Many kinds of penalties can be imposed on an individual who purposely fails to pay their court-ordered child support. Government support agencies typically have the authority to seek any or all of the options for penalties. Penalties that may be imposed for failure to pay child support vary from state to state, and may include:

  • Garnishment of wages
  • An intercepted tax refund paid to you
  • Liens placed against real estate
  • The debt being reported to credit bureaus (this can affect your ex’s credit)
  • Freezing of bank accounts
  • Suspension of driver’s license or professional licenses 
  • The ex being held in contempt of court
  • Fines, interest, and other penalties on past-due support can be added to what is owed to you
  • Attorney’s fees you incurred in chasing him or her down for overdue child support
  • In some cases, your ex may be thrown in jail

What if my ex threatens bankruptcy on his or her past-due child support obligations?
Past due child support payments can’t be discharged in bankruptcy. So although your ex may file for bankruptcy, he or she can’t go bankrupt on the child support that is owed to you. 

What if my ex doesn’t have the money to pay what he or she owes?
If your ex has no income and no assets to liquidate to pay you support, you may have to wait it out. Once your ex ever does have an income or acquires assets, then you can get him or her to pay the overdue child support.

If my ex doesn’t pay child support, can I restrict visitation with the kids?
Child support and visitation are two separate obligations. Even if your ex isn’t paying child support, you can’t legally deny him or her time with the kids.

You may have other questions regarding child support. In this case, you are well-advised to consult with a qualified child support attorney for help. Contact a family lawyer, like a family lawyer in Rockville, MD, today.

Thanks to the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into some frequently asked questions for people who don’t pay their child support.