What to do when spouse stops paying child support
Financial support is a valid legal responsibility of non-custodial parents in a child custody case. Even in some situations of joint child custody, one parent can still be required to pay the other parent when there is a significant difference in earning power or personal assets. The court is very serious about keeping child support payments current because they are always first concerned with the welfare of children who are caught in the middle of a divided living situation. Whether the support order stems from a divorce agreement or is assigned in a paternity case, those with court orders will have problems if they discontinue payment. There are situations where child support can be reduced when earning power or asset level has diminished, but it is always best to inform the child support enforcement division when payments will not be met. Here are a few steps a custodial parent can take when child support payments stop without notification or adjustment from the court.
Report to Child Support Enforcement
The first step a recipient spouse can take is telling the child support collection agency that the other parent has failed to pay. This should be done when the first payment is missed, and then updates should be provided if necessary. The child support office will then contact the ordered non-custodial parent and request information regarding their failure to pay. The Indiana State Central Collection Unit could then summon the delinquent non-custodial parent to appear in court for an explanation to the judge, which is protocol in most instances where a parent fails to pay child support.
Request a Paycheck Withholding Order
Paycheck withholding is not always assigned in a child support case. Many times non-custodial parents have steady employment and have shown no unwillingness to pay what the state determines. There can be disputes about payment amounts, but the court typically assesses the minimum amount based on the wages or assets of the non-custodial parent. The custodial parent can request the court to issue a paycheck withholding order when payment has not been consistent. The employer is required to calculate the amount at each paycheck period and submit the payment to the ISCCU.
File a Lien
Another alternative in serious cases of failure to pay child support is file a lien against any property that the non-custodial parent owns. Even property with a creditor lien can be subject to a second lien holder designation in some instances. This is relatively rare, but it is an option for some custodial parents who have difficulty receiving child support payments. While it may not be necessary to retain an attorney to accomplish this task, it is always best to have a family attorney like Yoder Jessup representing your interests when taking this step because there can be legal technicalities.
The most drastic step for recovering unpaid child support funds is seizing the assets of the non-custodial parent. This will often result in a mediation process where the custodial parent’s divorce attorney submits the proof necessary to request a confiscation order from the court in favor of the custodial parent. Mediation is an alternate dispute resolution tool conducted in private with no information discussed being provided for public viewing. Non-paying parents can then decide whether they want to enter into a private contract agreement to pay the delinquent amount or forfeit the property in exchange for reducing child support obligations proportional to the property value.
Contact Yoder Jessup Family Attorney Garrett Indiana
Just as each family is unique, some child support cases can also have extenuating circumstances. Not only do custodial parents have a right to request child support payments, but either parent can request an obligation reevaluation when income or asset levels change. Many times there is a reason child support payments become delinquent, and the court is primarily concerned that both parents are fulfilling all orders. It is rarely a good decision to address this legal matter without solid representation from an Indiana legal professional like Yoder Jessup family attorney in Garrett Indiana.