Failing To Pay Child Support in Wayne County
When a court orders a parent to pay child support, the law requires them to pay it. If a parent refuses to pay child support, there are legal consequences.
There are multiple reasons why a parent might stop paying their child support. Sometimes it is an outright refusal to pay, but the vast majority of these cases are due to a change in circumstances, such as losing a job or sudden medical bills. If this is the case, then the parent should file to have their child support modified through the court system rather than letting their payments lapse.
When A Parent Stops Paying Child Support In Wayne County
When a parent falls behind on child support payments, there might be underlying causes. However, a loss of income cannot be considered a valid justification. Nonetheless, if the parent without custody experiences a job loss, they have the option to submit a request to modify the child support arrangement.
In certain cases, the court may not initially mandate wage garnishment for child support. Consequently, the parent in question ceases payments. In other instances, wage garnishment might be in effect, but the non-custodial parent changes jobs without notifying anyone, leading to a cessation of child support payments.
When child support payments abruptly halt and remain unpaid for any duration, this can impose a significant financial strain on the parent with custody.
What To Do When Your Child’s Other Parent Fails To Make Child Support Payments
There are several different things you can do when your child’s other parent stops making child support payments in Wayne County. The actions you take can be based on whether or not there is a child support order in place.
If there is no child support order in place
Sometimes, divorcing parents can come to amicable agreements about child support without having the court mandate it. So when the parent that has agreed to pay child support stops paying, the other parent has no legal recourse. A court cannot enforce an order that was never filed. This is why you should have all child support issues handled in court. It helps to have the assistance of a Wayne County family law attorney, but it is not necessary.
In this situation, you could attempt to come to a different agreement with your child’s other parent, but once that agreement is made, you should file it in court so that you and your child aren’t left without protection in the event of nonpayment.
If there is a child support order in place
If you do have a court order, then you may still wish to discuss the matter with your child’s other parent first. If there has been a change in circumstances, it would help to encourage them to make the court aware and file for modification. If your efforts to communicate are not helpful, then it may be time to hire an attorney.
Your Wayne County family law attorney will be able to explain the process to you and explain your options. Normally, the first action is a notice from the court to the other parent that informs them of the late payment and outlines the enforcement steps.
If your child’s other parent lives in another state
Moving out of state does not relieve a parent of their child support obligations. A federal law known as the Uniform Interstate Family Act enables a parent to collect child support payments from a parent that lives in another state. The state that initially issued the child support order holds the authority to enforce it, a concept referred to as continuing jurisdiction.
Remarkably, this authority persists even if the parent with custody relocates to another state along with the child from the state where the initial child support order was issued. Similarly, if the parent who is not meeting their child support obligations intends to make modifications, the regulations of the original state will be applicable.
Consequences Of Not Paying Child Support in Wayne County
A federal law passed in 1984 authorizes district and state attorneys the right to collect arrearages and to impose penalties on the non-paying parent. Co-parenting is already difficult and is much more difficult when one parent stops following the rules. Some of the penalties for failure to pay child support include:
- Garnishing wages
- Intercepting unemployment insurance
- Intercepting tax return
- Suspending driver’s license
- Suspending a professional license
- Placing a lien on the home or other property
- Freezing bank accounts
- Filing a civil contempt order, which could result in jail time or a diversion program
Can You Stop Visitations If A Parent Stops Paying Child Support?
If you are the custodial parent, you must still comply with visitation orders, as they are completely separate from child support orders. While this may not seem fair, Wayne County courts have routinely deemed contact with both parents (barring any dangers posed to the child) as in the child’s best interests. If you withhold visitation from the non-custodial parent, this can result in legal consequences for you.
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