What can you do if your ex stops paying child support?

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2021 | Family Law |

Adjusting to a tighter budget after a divorce isn’t easy. When you are the one providing for most of your children’s needs, it can be even more difficult.

You may not make enough money on your own to over rent and groceries, let alone your child’s clothing and other needs. Child support might be the only thing keeping your household budget balanced. If your ex stops paying, the children will be the ones who suffer as a result.

What options do you have when your ex stops making their court-ordered child support payments?

Reach out to your ex for an answer

Maybe they just switched jobs and their new employer hasn’t paid them yet, but there will be a check coming in the near future. Perhaps they got hurt and only have unemployment or workers’ compensation for income right now.

It’s also possible that they lost their job or even quit it specifically so they could avoid paying child support. By reaching out before you take any other steps, you give your ex the opportunity to make things right. If they don’t, you may have to ask the state to help enforce the order.

Enforcement efforts can motivate your ex to pay what they owe

When the courts order support, the person paying has a legal obligation to pay. When they don’t, you can ask the courts to take enforcement action.

If your ex has fallen behind in child support, the state of Pennsylvania can:

  • Deny them a passport
  • Deny them a license (recreational, driver’s or professional)
  • Intercept tax refunds
  • Intercept any gambling winnings
  • Place a lien against their home
  • Report the delinquency to the credit bureaus
  • Incarcerate them

The exact approach the courts take will depend on your family circumstances. Denying a passport won’t have an effect on someone who has no intention of traveling, but that same person might do anything to avoid losing their fishing license.

The sooner you ask for enforcement assistance, the sooner you could potentially receive the child support that you need to provide for your kids.

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