It is a scenario that every divorced parent dreads. After months or even years of fighting over your divorce, child custody, and maintenance payments, the matter finally gets resolved. But rather than comply with the order of the court, your ex-spouse refuses to pay the required child support.
Thankfully, there are several important steps that you can take to recover the money that you are owed and hold your ex-spouse accountable for his or her actions.
Before the Problem Arises: Get it in Writing
One of the most important things that you can do in terms of protecting and enforcing a child support award that you are entitled to receive is ensuring that your child support payments are memorialized in writing. If a court order granted your divorce and set forth the terms of child support, then you have what you need.
However, in some circumstances, divorces are completed informally through agreements between spouses. These types of agreements, or changes, no matter how small, must always be in writing. Additionally, to the extent possible, you should try to have them approved by a judge and incorporated into a court order so that they can be more easily enforced.
Returning to Court
If your ex-spouse fails to pay child support provided for under your agreement or order, you can return to court and ask the judge for a child support enforcement action. This will result in an order from the Judge requiring the parent to make payments, and possibly fining them or putting them in jail for their failure to do so.
After an enforcement order is awarded, the court or Wisconsin’s Child Support Program can take a variety of actions to help you get the money for which you are entitled. As public entities, they have the ability to seize funds, place liens on property and take other action such as:
- Reporting the failure to pay to a credit bureau
- Placing a lien on a home, boat, or car
- Suspending the parent’s license
- Seizing bank accounts and other payments (like pension payments)
These various mechanisms often make life extremely difficult for the parent who will not pay. When the difficulties become burdensome enough, most delinquent parents will pay back any amount owed – and give them strong incentive to remain current on all future payments. However, no method is foolproof. Even when some of the above measures taken, some people remain uncooperative. That is when the state may take it to the next level – and simply take the payments owed without the parent’s consent.
Disclaimer: This Article Is Not Legal Advice.
Never rely on an article for legal advice as the law frequently changes, information may not be accurate, there may be exceptions to a rule, and reliance may be detrimental. Always consult one of our experienced attorneys for competent, current, and accurate legal advice.
Fight Back Against Delinquent Parents With Your Wisconsin Attorneys
When an ex-spouse fails to make child support payments, going after those payments may seem overwhelming and difficult. In reality, the courts provide a fairly speedy and effective means for making sure that delinquent parents pay up. And once you have an enforcement order, receiving those payments may become much easier because the State can assist you in some of the work.
If you are waiting for outstanding or overdue child support, particularly if the other parent is more than three months delinquent, contact the divorce attorneys at Crooks, Low & Connell, P.C., to review your options and begin enforcement. We understand the family court system in Wausau, Wisconsin and nearby communities, and will work with you to get the payments you need. For more information, or to schedule a consultation, contact our offices online or at (715) 842-2291.