After divorce, parents must pay for the costs of raising their children and other expenses with one income instead of the joint income they relied upon during their marriage. Single parents who rely on child support for meeting these needs may face dire consequences if their ex-spouse cuts off these payments. You can take measures to seek restoration of this support.
Talk about it
If you are on good terms with your spouse, you may try a conversation to resolve this. There may be valid and compelling circumstances restricting the other parent’s ability to pay support such as a job loss, costly medical expenses or an anticipated income or bonus that was not received.
Parents can agree to modification of payments to address a substantially different financial situation. But any modification should be written and filed with the court. This can help assure that any agreement is legal, understood, and enforceable.
Go to court
There are situations where you and your former spouse cannot get along. Or that parent will not make support despite payments having their ability to pay.
In these situations, going to court may be the only practical option. This may be necessary when payments have stopped for a long period such as six months.
Courts may enforce child support orders. A judge can garnish the other parent’s wages, withhold tax refunds, file liens, and suspend drivers’ licenses and passports. Rarely and in more extreme cases, courts may incarcerate offenders.
Depending on child support
If your former spouse cannot pay support, it may be necessary to create a budget that meets your family’s expenses without reliance on a child support check. When support is received, in these circumstances, it can be used for college savings or for a special purchase for the children.
An attorney can help you seek a reasonable child support order. Lawyers may also seek enforcement and modification, when necessary, in court and help you take other steps when a parent cannot make these payments.