What if My Ex Is Not Paying Child Support?

January 30, 2023
Chester County Divorce Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Help Clients Recover Unpaid Child Support.

Child support financially obligates a non-custodial parent to contribute to costs associated with being a parent. However, situations are not always ideal, and sometimes a parent either refuses to pay child support or can no longer pay. As a custodial parent in that circumstance, you may wonder if you have any recourse. You typically do, and getting help from a divorce lawyer can make the process easier.

In Pennsylvania, most custodial parents go through the court system to compel non-custodial parents to pay child support. The court decides how much support the non-custodial parent will pay, as well as how often the payments are to be made. If the non-custodial parent ceases to make payments, the parent is acting in violation. At that point, the non-custodial parent faces the possibility of many penalties until they pay the child support arrears.

Possible penalties of not paying child support include:

  • Deduction of employer or unemployment payments.
  • Deduction of any other financial benefits the non-custodial parent receives.
  • Placement of a lien against an asset, such as a private residence or vehicle.
  • Seizure of settlements or freezing of financial accounts.
  • Placement of restrictions on the non-custodial parent’s ability to hold onto a driver’s license, renew a professional license, or get a passport.
  • Loss of rights to see the child.

In serious cases, non-custodial parents may be held in contempt and either fined heavily or incarcerated. The problem with fines and incarceration, though, is that both those penalties can make repaying missed child support payments very difficult. This is why courts would rather use other methods to incentivize and penalize non-paying parents.

Can Non-Custodial Parents Claim Hardship?

Non-custodial parents can ask for their court-ordered child support to be changed if they are experiencing financial difficulties. However, proving hardship is the burden of the non-custodial parent. You can still fight to get child support even if your former spouse claims to be without financial means.

What Steps Can You Take to Recover Unpaid Child Support?

It is essential that you take measures when you first begin to see that you are no longer getting your court-ordered child support. The longer you wait to contact a divorce lawyer, the harder it might be to get all the child support you are owed.

First, make sure that you have court-ordered child support. Some parents do not realize that child support is not automatic. If you do not have orders that were signed by a judge, you cannot compel your child’s other parent to pay anything.

Next, talk to your divorce lawyer and present any documents to prove that you are not getting child support. For instance, your bank statements should show whether or not you have been getting money. Your lawyer can then file the appropriate paperwork with the court to start a case. Throughout your case, your lawyer will serve as your legal representative.

The sooner you make the courts aware of what is occurring with your ex-spouse, the sooner you can potentially recover the child support you are owed.

Chester County Divorce Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Help Clients Recover Unpaid Child Support

You depend on child support payments. When those payments suddenly stop coming, get in touch with our Chester County divorce lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. Call us at 610-565-3701 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.