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What Can I Do If My Ex Won't Pay Child Support?

Child support is a financial obligation that is made formal and legally mandated in a child support order from a family court. The state of Ohio considers this obligation to be serious and vital as it allows for the continuing welfare of the child who no longer lives with both parents under one roof. Generally, in such situations, it is the noncustodial parent who is ordered to pay support to the custodial parent, who likely has the child on a day-to-day basis. Under such an order, if you are the parent due to receive support and your ex has failed or refused to pay, you have legal recourse through the courts. In this blog, we cover what is entailed in that recourse and what you can do to get started.

Protections Under State & Federal Law

The first thing to understand in a situation where you are not receiving child support is that you are protected under both state and federal law. These laws provide ways for you to locate an ex who has stopped paying and enforce child support payments.

The federal law on this issue is called the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984. Under this law, a district attorney in your area can serve papers on your ex requiring him or her to pay. If this is unsuccessful, the order can be enforced in several ways.

Measures of enforcement include:

  • Garnishment of your ex’s wages by his or her employer in which money is held back to provide for the support payment
  • Confiscation of your ex’s property
  • Withholding of federal tax refunds that are then used to make support payments
  • Suspension of an occupational or professional license
  • Suspension of a business license
  • Suspension or revocation of his or her driver’s license
  • Denial of a passport in cases where more than $2,500 is owed

If your ex still fails to pay, he or she can be held in contempt of court. This can result in penalties such as jail time or fines. Such measures are counter-productive, however, since they will make it even more difficult for your ex to pay. That is why they are seldom used.

If your ex has moved to another state and is refusing to pay, you are also protected by the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, which has procedures for obtaining missing child support. Additionally, you are protected by the Child Support Recovery Act of 1992 and the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act of 1998. These laws make it criminal to refuse to pay support to a parent in another state. The latter law makes such a refusal a felony.

Ohio’s Child Support Enforcement Agency

The state of Ohio also has its own agency for enforcing child support payments. If you are not receiving the support you are owed from your ex, you can turn to the local Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) in your area for help. There you will be given a support officer who will take your case and who can use various methods to enforce the order.

These methods can also include filing contempt orders in court, wage garnishment, attachments made on bank accounts or property, intercepting tax refunds, driver’s license, and other license suspensions, and court orders to seek employment. The CSEA can also help you locate a non-paying parent when he or she has disappeared, establish support orders, and can collect, track, and distribute such payments for you as a middleman.

Get Help from a Reliable Family Law Firm

If you are owed child support, there are many laws on your side that can be used on your behalf. To get started, we suggest that you turn to L. Patrick Mulligan & Associates, LLC for the help you need. We have deep experience with child support and other family law matters in the greater Dayton area and use that experience on behalf of you and your child(ren).

Reach out to us at (937) 685-7006 or contact us online for a consultation today.