Child support is a major topic in our Columbus Divorce Law Blog for the obvious reason that it is an important issue for many families in Ohio. Whether a parent is obligated to pay child support or relies on a monthly check, it can affect an individual’s daily life.
There are essentially two overall parts to the child support process: the determination of payment based on child support guidelines and the execution of the obligation. The reality is that this second part of the process can be difficult for some. How does one deal with issues involving unpaid child support?
As there are two parts to the process, there are two sides to the issue of unpaid child support. The first is a parent that finds the obligation to be overwhelming or difficult to fulfill. For instance, job loss or medical complications could cause an obligor’s financial circumstances to change substantially. In this case, an attorney can help a parent seek relief through a request to modify the support payment.
On the other end of the spectrum is the parent that isn’t receiving the payments. This can be a difficult situation as well, but this parent does have options. Discussing the situation with an attorney is the best way to avoid unintended consequences that could be caused by “handling” the situation on one’s own.
The first important thing to remember is that child support and child custody are really two different issues even though there is some overlap. So while it may be tempting to restrict custody due to underpayment of or failure to pay, refusing access to the children could lead to a parent’s own set of consequences.
The second thing to remember is that while the advice of your attorney should be sought, it doesn’t mean that court action must be taken. It can get expensive to involve the courts in every situation. In some cases, nonpayment could be solved with communication. A parent may be able to at least make partial payments until the situation can be officially addressed.
Lastly, there is legal recourse for parents who aren’t receiving the court-ordered payments. These options depend on the individual situation and jurisdictional laws. Some of these options include wage garnishment, loss of driving privileges, diversion of tax refunds and even jail time.
Source: Daily Finance, “What to Do When Your Ex Won’t (or Can’t) Pay Child Support,” Geoff Williams, Nov. 21, 2013