Child support is awarded and received from one parent to another so that their children are provided for. It is an important aspect of divorce settlements because it ensures that the child has everything they need in order to grow and develop in a healthy environment.
When child support payments are not received it can become financially overwhelming for one parent to carry the entire burden. What can be done when a parent doesn’t pay or doesn’t pay in-full?
First, Make Sure the Order is Official
A child support order must be determined either by a judge or the North Carolina Child Support Program. The parent who is not in custody of the child must pay the established amount over the specified term of the court order.
Your Options Before Court
There are options for receiving child custody payments without filing for contempt of court against your former spouse. The North Carolina Child Support Program has services that will allow you to withhold child support if they receive unemployment, social security benefits and/or worker’s compensation payments.
If they do not receive these benefits, you may have to take things a step further.
File an Action to Hold That Parent in Contempt of Court
If child support payments aren’t received, you have legal grounds to place your former spouse in contempt of court. Doing so can leave them with criminal charges, fines and in extreme circumstances, jail time.
You have the option of filing for this action on your own by printing forms from www.nccourts.org, or via your local courthouse. But, it is recommended that you hire a family lawyer to handle this process for you. A private attorney will ensure everything is filed correctly and attend hearings to ensure that everything is done to hold the other parent responsible for their debts.
What Happens Next?
If the parent has refused to honor child support payments, a judge can hold them in contempt of court. They will be forced to pay the amount that is owed. In some more severe cases, they may also incur the following penalties:
- Wage garnishment
- Penalty against tax refund
- Payment of your attorney’s fees
- Negative credit report
- Seizure of property
- Jail time
Hire a Family Lawyer to Handle Child Support Issues
Having an experienced family lawyer can ease the stress of filing the proper forms and going through the child support procedure. You can relax knowing that it is done correctly and you’ll get the best possible result for your situation.