Raising your child with an ex with whom you may no longer get along can be an extraordinary challenge. It is all but inevitable that there will hiccups when parents try to figure out how to raise a child separately but together, from dealing with scheduling conflicts to figuring out how to manage different discipline styles.
Money is often one of the most contentious aspects of this type of parenting arrangement. When parents are not together, one parent will generally be expected to pay child support to the other parent. If these payments are late, incomplete, or missing, there are steps that parents can and should take to enforce the child support arrangement approved by the court.
If one payment is late or missing, or if it happens only occasionally, sometimes all it takes is a conversation with the other parent – in person, on the phone, or even in e-mail – to sort out any potential issues.
If this proves ineffective, more aggressive enforcement efforts may be necessary, including utilizing the Department of Child Support Services for assistance with enforcement of the order and collection of the support payments due.
Many support orders also define the consequences of failing to comply with the court order. These consequences can include wage garnishment, suspension of professional or driver’s licenses, property seizure, and sometimes, in certain circumstances, even jail time.
It is essential for parents to understand the financial and psychological impact child support payments have on a parent-child relationship. Not only does this money help the other parent provide the things a child needs, it also serves as a link between the paying parent and his or her child. Even if paying child support is the only way a person contributes to a child’s well-being, it is a valuable contribution to a child’s life.
If you are in a situation where you need to enforce an order for child support, you may find that it is very difficult to do on your own for legal and emotional reasons. Having the guidance and experience of an attorney on your side can prove to be a source of great relief.