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What to Do When Your Ex Won't Pay Child Support

Why Child Support Is Necessary

When a child's parents separate and divorce, their children's lives are disrupted. As children and parents adjust to their new normal, special attention needs to be paid to the children's needs. Often, one parent has a significantly different income than the other. This is especially common when one parent stayed at home to raise children while the other worked. Consequently, after a divorce, the financial stability of one parent may be significantly diminished, making child support vitally necessary as it is in the child's best interest.

Without child support, it can become difficult to ensure that children consistently receive the care they need to flourish. If one parent is granted primary physical custody, the courts often require the noncustodial parent to pay child support to the custodial parent. In doing so, they contribute to the children's upbringing and ensure that they have what they need.

Child support can be used to cover the expenses for:

  • Childcare and daycare
  • Clothing
  • Educational expenses
  • Entertainment
  • Food
  • Housing
  • Special needs
  • Transportation

Child Support Disputes

Family court judges follow Tennessee state guidelines when calculating how much child support one parent must pay the other. Their decisions are focused on what they determine to be in the best interest of the child. However, they consider other factors as well, such as the income level of each parent and the noncustodial parent's ability to pay child support.

Read more on how child support is determined here!

Despite their best efforts to hand down a fair ruling, child support disputes are common. It can be difficult to hand over control to someone outside the family, and many people are resistant to paying child support. Unfortunately, some people are so resistive that they refuse to make court-ordered payments. This is a serious offense.

How to Enforce a Child Support Order

If your ex refuses to make child support payments, you should speak with an experienced child support lawyer as soon as possible. Too many parents try and make do for far too long. Withholding child support payments is illegal, and you can petition the court to have the order enforced. When this happens, the court will conduct a hearing and determine the best course of action.

When enforcing a child support order, the court may decide to:

  • Issue a formal written warning
  • Garnish the offending party's wages
  • Freeze the offending party's accounts
  • Place liens on their property

I Am Not Able to Pay My Court-Ordered Child Support; What Do I Do?

Most parents do their best to provide for their children. Often, a parent cannot make child support payments because of unforeseen circumstances such as the loss of a job or unexpected expenses. When this happens, you should reach out to a trusted attorney right away. Do not just ignore the problem. Failing to fulfill court-ordered child support can result in you being held in contempt of court. The consequences of being held in contempt of court can include fines and jail time.

Click here to learn more about how the court can hold you in contempt for missing child support payments.

Child Support Modifications

In Tennessee, both parents have the right to submit a request for a child support modification. Seeking a modification is potentially a solution to some child support issues. The parent seeking the amendment is required to prove to the court that there has been a significant change in circumstances warranting a modification of the original order. Suppose you cannot pay child support due to a significant decrease in your income or another issue that impacts your ability to make payments. In that case, you should speak with a child support modification lawyer to find out if this is a good option for you.

At Casey, Simmons & Bryant, PLLC, we know how difficult it is to deal with a child support issue. We are here to support our clients through these challenges, and we are committed to helping families as they move forward with their lives. If your ex has missed child support payments or is withholding child support for some reason, reach out to our law firm for trusted guidance.

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