What Should You Do if Your Spouse Refuses to Pay Child Support?

As a custodial parent, going through a divorce can be incredibly difficult on you and your family.  If the other parent refuses or fails to comply with their child support obligations, you may find yourself in a difficult situation.  How can you ensure that you receive the support that you rightfully deserve?  And what tools are available to help you?

If the parent who owes child support has failed to make timely or complete child support payments, you and your child support attorney should contact your local child support enforcement agency, who can take a number of steps to recover the child support that you are owed.  You can also request that the court grant a wage assignment or hold the other parent in contempt of court.  To ensure that you receive the child support payments that you deserve, you should speak to a child support attorney as soon as possible.

At Rice, Murtha & Psoras, we make it our mission to provide our clients with the legal and financial support they need to live comfortably.  Our experienced Baltimore child support lawyers will listen to your story and explore every avenue possible to get you the support that you are owed.  You can schedule your initial consultation with us for free by calling our offices today at (410) 694-7291.

What Should You Do if Your Spouse Refuses to Pay Child Support?

There are a number of steps you can take if the other parent is not making timely or complete child support payments according to their obligations.  Each state varies slightly on the remedies available to parents who are not receiving the child support they are owed.  If you are in this situation, we highly recommend that you speak to one of our experienced Bel Air, MD child support attorneys.

Notify Your Local Child Support Enforcement Agency

The first step that you can take is to contact your local child support enforcement agency.  Since 1984, federal law requires that the government maintain programs to assist parents who are not receiving the child support payments that they are owed.  This legislation also details the measures that the government may take to enforce the child support requirements.
Below are some of the measures that your local child support agency may be able to take to enforce the payment requirements:

  • Withhold child support balance from the delinquent parent’s unemployment benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, and other financial assistance programs
  • Withhold child support balance from the delinquent parent’s tax refunds
  • Suspend the delinquent parent’s driver’s license
  • Create liens on real property or seize assets

Ask the Court for a Wage Garnishment

A wage garnishment is a way for the court to order the employer of the delinquent parent to make the child support payments to the recipient parent directly out of the delinquent parent’s paycheck.  To do this, you and your child support attorney must request this directly of the court.  You have the ability to make this request up front during the child support determination, even before the other parent misses a payment, if you have reason to believe that they will fail to comply with their child support responsibilities.

Ask the Court to Hold the Delinquent Parent in Contempt of Court

You may also petition the court to hold the parent who has not or refuses to pay their child support payments in contempt of court.  Contempt of court can be a civil or criminal charge, depending on the jurisdiction.  In most situations, if a court holds a non-paying parent in contempt of court, they can order that person’s temporary arrest until some portion of the outstanding child support balance is paid.  While you can file your petition on your own, you will want an experienced Maryland child support attorney by your side for the subsequent hearing on whether contempt of court is warranted.

Use the Parent Locator Service

Some parents who are delinquent on their child support payments will go so far as to move out of state in order to avoid their responsibilities.  This is why the federal government legislated to create the Federal Parent Locator Service.  Your local child support agency will submit your request to the Federal Parent Locator Services in order to track down the delinquent spouse.  From there, the child support agency can use many of the tools already at their disposal or issue a request for federal prosecution of the delinquent parent if need be.

Do You Need a Lawyer if Your Spouse Refuses to Pay Child Support?

Strictly speaking, you are not required to use a lawyer when pursuing remedies for missed or incomplete child support payments.  However, you should never have to shoulder this burden alone.  Our experienced Annapolis child support attorneys want nothing more than to ease your struggle.  We can communicate with your local child support agency, file paperwork with the court, and advocate on your behalf in any hearing that may arise.

Can You Adjust Child Support Payments Without Going Through Court?

If your spouse is unable to meet the designated child support obligation and the two of you can amicably agree on a new, creative arrangement that gets you paid what you need without burdening your relationship any further, you can do so.  You will have to both agree to, sign, and submit to the court an amended child support agreement that replaces the original arrangement.  If you are interested in pursuing an amended child support agreement, we highly suggest that you have the help of one of our hardworking child support attorneys.

Spouse Refusing to Pay Child Support? Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras Today

Our dedicated child support lawyers know how difficult ex-marital disputes over child support payments can be, especially for the person who is not receiving the support they are owed.  We can help change that.  Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 today for a free consultation on your options.