As a single, or even remarried, parent, it can be difficult to cover the costs of raising a child on our own without the aid of child support payments. If your ex has been negligent in making court-ordered payments, you have legal options. By following these tips, you can collect the money owed to you and your child:
Work with Child Support Services
The Child Support Enforcement and Paternity Establishment Program was created to help parents collect back child support. State authorities will work with the national program to find parents who are delinquent on payments and ensure that they become compliant. The state authority in North Carolina is Child Support Services (CSS) at the Department of Health and Human Services. You can open a case if you have a court child support order and the other parent has neglected to pay you, whether that means they've not paid you at all, paid part of what they owed, or missed several payments. Simply call the CSS office to get started.
CSS works in a number of ways. They can withhold your ex's income, report them to credit bureaus, garnish lottery winnings or tax refunds, or deny them passport issuance or renewal. They can also suspend a driving, sporting or recreational license. Not only that, but they can also place liens on their property, or file an action against them for contempt of court which can lead to them being arrested. Any one of these actions may spike the other parent's motivation to pay you in full.
Work With an Experienced Family Law Attorney in North Carolina
CSS can be the first step towards collecting what you're owed, but they aren't the only choice available. CSS is often backed up with cases and therefore moves slowly. When you need immediate funds, it would be better to work with a lawyer to collect them. We can plead your case before a judge, helping you work through several possible legal angles. These options include the following.
- Motion for judgment: This is the first step. An approved motion for judgment is when the court takes written legal action against the noncustodial parent for the back amount they owe. Once that's in place, you can move on to heavier methods of collection.
- Writ of execution: When you file this order, law enforcement officers are allowed to sell your ex's assets and give you the money towards payment in full.
- Wage garnishment: A court order can force the negligent parent's employer to take a portion of every one of their paychecks to send to you directly or through CSS.
- Motion for contempt: Perhaps threatening your ex with imprisonment will convince him or her to pay up. That's where a motion for contempt comes in. You ask the court to find the non-paying parent in contempt of court for violating a court order. If they still refuse to pay up, they can be arrested and put in jail.
Sometimes collecting child support seems near impossible. The right attorney can make the process simpler and help you to protect your rights. Be sure to call us at (704) 861-0700 at the first sign of trouble because child support can only be enforced during a strict timeline. There's a 10-year limit on collecting payments under a court order, and without one, you can collect for just three years.
We know child support issues are tough. NC Adoption Law Center can help you explore legal ways of getting through to your ex. If you live in the Gaston, Catawba, Cleveland, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, or Cabarrus counties, let us put our experience to work for you so you can support your child with viable means.