When Your Ex Stops Paying Child Support

Abruptly losing any source of income is stressful. You depend on the money to take care of your children. Because divorce can be an emotionally charged situation, your reaction may be extreme. 

You may become angry at your former spouse. There may be feelings of fear and concern to be able to make ends meet. Every state in the U.S. requires a parent to provide financial support to their children—regardless of whether they are divorced or separated. The law is on your side and you can take comfort in that. Here are some things to consider when this happens:

Figure Out Why, Calmly

Divorced or separated couples often have established ways of communicating with each other. This may be through calls, text, or email. Reach out to your former spouse and let them know you haven’t received child support yet.

The key here is to not make accusations or write offensive and anger-ridden emails or texts. This will only cause a reaction that will likely meet your level of anger. The goal is to regain your child support—not fight. Remember the end goal. 

Documentation & Help

If you have contacted your former spouse and were not satisfied with the result, get your court order. This will outline the specifics of your child support. If you just separated recently and don’t have a court order, you will need one. 

Talk with your attorney about back pay and getting child support dated to when you first separated. This isn’t to say your ex can’t contribute any financial support, but you won’t have the grounds to force it (yet). 

Not only is the law on your side, but here in California, there are agencies to help you. Furthermore, there are several ways in which penalties can be imposed upon your spouse for not meeting his or her financial obligations. 

  • Freezing bank accounts
  • Their credit score can be impacted (when reports get send to credit bureaus) 
  • If your former spouse receives a tax refund, you may have an opportunity to legally route it to you (wages can be withheld too)
  • And there are criminal punishments that can be imposed

Talk To An Attorney 

It is important to note that even though there are laws that require people to pay child support, there are also ones that allow for the amount to be adjusted or altered. 

There’s a reason why you should first reach out to your former spouse (calmly). Why did they stop paying? Did they lose their job, or are they being negligent? Let your attorney advise you on how to proceed given the circumstances. 

Carroll Law Office 

Family law can be complex both emotionally and legally. At Carroll Law Office, no two clients are the same nor are our approaches. If you are about to pursue a divorce or are already in the process, contact us through our website to schedule a free consultation. You can also reach us at (707) 536-1156.