When a couple divorces in North Carolina, it is neither fair nor reasonable to expect one parent to support the children alone. This is why family courts order child support to be paid. These payments are meant to contribute to the cost of housing, food, clothing, medical care, and other expenses associated with raising a child. Child support payments are made to the other parent, but they are for the maintenance of the child. It feels like you’re “paying” your ex, but you’re really helping meet the needs of your children while they are in the other household.
If the noncustodial parent doesn’t pay, it can have a negative effect on the children’s well-being. Unfortunately, this situation is not rare. A report issued by the U.S. Census Bureau in January 2016 revealed that:
- The average amount of child support due in 2013 was $5,774, or less than $500 per month (per recipient)
- Only 68.5% of the amount owed, or $3,950 each year, was actually paid, meaning that custodial parents received about $329 each month
It’s a state of affairs that takes an enormous toll emotionally and financially on both the custodial parent and the children. So what can you do if your former spouse or partner stops paying child support?
Your first step should be to contact a North Carolina family law attorney, who can petition the court to enter a judgment against your ex for the total amount of child support owed. Once the judgment is received, there are several different ways for the money to be collected.
- Automatically deducting funds from the non-paying parent’s paychecks and other income sources, including disability, Social Security, unemployment benefits, and worker’s compensation. The money will be sent directly to you or through Child Support Services.
- Intercepting income tax refunds and lottery winnings to cover child support owed.
- Filing a lien on the non-paying parent’s home, business, and other assets.
- Suspension of the person’s driver’s license and even certain occupational and recreational licenses.
- Denying them a new passport or the opportunity to renew an existing one.
- Reporting the non-paying parent to the credit bureaus.
Your attorney can also file a motion for contempt, which asks the court to find that your ex violated a valid child support order and is now in contempt of court. This outcome could mean jail time, which frequently convinces the delinquent parent to pay what they owe.
Dealing with a former spouse or partner who refuses to support their children is emotionally challenging, especially when their actions impact your ability to take care of your family. At Haas Tharrington, P.A., we are ready to help you protect your children’s wellbeing and quality of life by pursuing legal remedies to collect the support money owed. For more information, please, contact us today.