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Obtaining child support when the other parent fails to pay

Each month, many Alabama residents feel the stress when the monthly bills are due. From making the mortgage payment to paying for the needs of a person’s children, there is a seemingly endless string of financial obligations that must be met on a limited income.

It can make matters much worse when an individual is a custodial parent, but does not receive the required child support payments from the other spouse. Some recent figures showed approximately $108 billion in back child support payments were owed in 2009.

In situations where there is a child support dispute, individuals have some options. There are a number of penalties that are available to go after parents for a failure to pay child support, up to and including jail time. Of course, this is disfavored, because it would remove the other parent’s financial means to pay the support in the first place, which is the ultimate goal.

Accordingly, there are some strategies used with success by some parents that avoids these drastic remedies. For example, by simply keeping the other parent involved in the child’s day-to-day activities, the other parent may be more likely to pay up when they have the ability. While child support is not tied to visitation as a legal matter, it can help to get payments when the other parent receives visitation. At the very least, visitation should not be denied the other parent because of a failure to pay, as that can result in legal trouble for the custodial parent.

Ultimately, if individuals cannot obtain payment after around six months, the county sheriff can enforce the court order through wage garnishment or other means. By filing a motion with the court, individuals might also be able to have the other parent’s license suspended, tax refunds withheld or otherwise.

Source: , “What to do when your ex won’t (or can’t) pay child support,” Geoff Williams, Nov. 20, 2013