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What To Do When Your Ex Won’t Pay Child Support


Child support rulings help parents maintain quality of life for their children after a divorce, but if one spouse refuses to pay required support payments, it can disrupt life for everyone involved. Raising children is expensive, and a spouse who refuses to pay court-ordered child support can cause significant financial strain on the other spouse and the couple’s children. The Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984 aimed to curb the trend of divorced parents shirking their child support obligations.

Thanks to the Child Support Enforcement Act, spouses owed support payments have options for securing their payments from nonpaying exes. A parent who refuses or fails to pay court-ordered child support faces numerous legal penalties. The Colorado Department of Social Services and other public agencies offer various solutions for securing back child support, and a judge reviewing a child support dispute could use any of the following methods to enforce the couple’s child support agreement:

  • Asset seizure. A judge may decide to take assets from the nonpaying parent to compensate the missed child support payments.
  • Account garnishment. A court judgment may allow the owed parent to collect garnishments from the nonpaying parent’s bank accounts.
  • Wage garnishment. An income assignment from the court may lead to the nonpaying parent’s employer withholding support payments from his or her paychecks.
  • Prison time. A nonpaying parent who has the ability to pay child support but refuses to do so may be arrested and face jail time. The drawback to this solution is the imprisoned parent will not be working and will therefore be unable to make support payments, unless he or she has substantial assets in savings.
  • Tax refund interception. If a parent seeking court-ordered child support payments goes through the Department of Social Services’ Child Support Enforcement division, the agency will intercept the nonpaying parent’s tax refunds and send them to the custodial parent for child support.
  • License suspension. The court may suspend a nonpaying parent’s professional, occupational, business, or driver’s licenses until he or she catches up on required child support payments.

Back Payments

Unpaid child supports accrues with each missed payment, and the court can compel a nonpaying parent to start making payments immediately. In some cases, a nonpaying parent who is unable to make child support payments due to employment issues or other life events may appeal for a reduced support rate. While the judge reviewing the case may decide a lower payment amount is appropriate, the nonpaying parent will still owe the full amount of any unpaid child support. In any given situation concerning child support payments, the court will always strive to rule in favor of the children’s best interests.

Divorced parents with concerns about unpaid child support should contact reliable Colorado family law attorneys. Unpaid child support can lead to severe legal consequences for insolvent parents, and custodial parents often rely on child support payments to make ends meet. Attorneys will be valuable during the divorce process for determining child custody and child support amounts, but they can also help resolve any future disputes arising from those agreements.

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