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What happens if my ex stops paying child support?

Child support payments are often a major and necessary part of the custodial parent’s ability to provide a financially stable home for their children. If these payments don’t come on a regular basis, or at all, it can create serious problems for the custodial parent as well as affect the child’s best interests.

There are specific procedures set in place for how to deal with a parent who is not making court-ordered child support. This means that if you have been relying on an informal arrangement so far, the first step is to go through the proper channels to get a court order that reflects a specific dollar amount to be paid every month. In some cases, this may be enough to ensure that the child support arrives in full and on time.

However, if you already have a court order that is not being followed, the first step is usually to contact the local child support enforcement agency and make sure they are aware of the situation. There are usually certain criteria that must be met — such as being a certain dollar amount behind or having not made any payments for a certain period of time — before enforcement procedures begin.

These usually start small, such as a written notice to the paying parent letting them know they are behind and giving them the opportunity to make payment arrangement, and can go as far as wage garnishments and suspending the person’s driver’s license. In many cases, the child support enforcement agency can handle the matter, but in others, the courts may need to get involved. Not paying child support according to a court order is considered contempt, and a Texas attorney can give you more information on your options.

Source: Divorce Magazine, “What to Do When Your Ex Does Not Pay Child or Spousal Support,” Matthew Smurda, accessed April 20, 2016

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