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What to do when an ex fails to pay child support

On Behalf of | Apr 13, 2023 | Divorce

It can be frustrating when your ex refuses to pay the child support you agreed on. After all, your child will still need food, education, and medical care, regardless of whether your ex pays or not. Fortunately, there are legal steps you may take to persuade your ex to start making child support payments.

The custodial parent may ask a judge or the North Carolina Child Support Services (CSS) to issue a child support order. Doing so will facilitate what is known as child support enforcement.

Using North Carolina CSS

The North Carolina CSS offices are open to parents who need assistance collecting child support. Before the CSS can help you, there are certain conditions that need to be met:

  • The child must have been born to married parents; if not, proof of paternity must be provided
  • The location of the noncustodial parent (NCP), or the paying parent, must be known

After that, a court order will be issued to determine how much must be paid based on CSS guidelines. Once successful, the CSS will collect payments through a variety of enforcement methods, such as:

  • Working with the NCP’s employer to withhold income
  • Filing a court action against the NCP
  • Making claims on properties owned by the NCP

Enforcing child support through the court

A custodial parent has the option to enter a judgment against their ex or file a motion for contempt. When you file a judgment, the court will go over your case and compute the amount of child support they need to pay. After a judgment is completed, the court may take the following actions:

  • Automatically deduct wages from paychecks or other income sources
  • File a lien on the NCP’s properties and assets
  • Suspend the NCP’s licenses (including driver’s licenses and occupational or recreational licenses)
  • Deny the NCP from obtaining or renewing their passport

If you choose to file a motion for contempt, the court may conclude that your ex is in violation of a court order, which can result in jail time or fines.

Unfortunately, a non-paying ex could limit your ability to care for your child. Even though you can take the above steps on your own, it may be best to have legal guidance. A family law attorney may help you navigate these procedures and gain back what you and your child are owed.