When a Missouri court orders child support payments from one parent to the other, it is important that the person obligated to pay actually does pay what is owed. When the other parent fails to pay his or her child support obligations, you may be left asking, "What can I do about it?"
There is more that can be done than you might think. Those who fail to pay either by choice or some financial hardship still have an obligation to make the payments, and any missed payments go into arrears. That person will owe the money, whether that person believes he or she should be obligated to or not.
Child Support Collection Methods
With the help of an experienced divorce attorney at your side, you can use legal methods to collect child support that is owed to you. You deserve to have what the court has ordered in order to support your children. You do not have to allow the other parent to take advantage of you.
One of the best ways to collect unpaid child support is for the Missouri Family Support Division (FSD) to enforce child support orders through wage withholding. A wage withholding order can be imposed when a parent owes at least one full month of unpaid child support.
The withholding order is given to the parent's employer, and the employer is required by law to take a certain amount of money out of the person's paycheck in order to pay for support, and for unpaid support. This can continue for some time in order to make sure that all payments are made.
Liens on Property
A property lien can be filed against property owned by the parent who owes child support. This can include, but is not limited to:
- land (real property),
- trucks, or
- other property.
A lien means the person cannot transfer or sell this property until the problems with the child support are fixed. This can be a great remedy when the other parent wishes to sell a car or home.
The FSD can also suspend the driver's license of a person who has not paid child support. Professional licenses, such as a medical license, teaching license, or law license can also be suspended. This can pressure a person who refuses to pay child support to do so or continue to be unable to drive or work in their profession.
Contempt of Court
One of the most serious methods of enforcement is through an order for contempt of court. This means that a court will find that the non-paying parent is willfully refusing to comply with the support order for some reason. A contempt finding can result in fines or even jail time. Another possibility is that the case can be referred to a circuit attorney's office for possible criminal prosecution of the case.
Consult an Experienced Missouri Divorce Attorney
If you are experiencing difficulty collecting child support you are owed, there are ways to fight back and protect your rights. Joshua Wilson is an experienced family law attorney who can help you develop the best collection method based on the facts of your case.