My Co-Parent Is Refusing to Pay Child Support; What Can I Do?

My Co-Parent Is Refusing to Pay Child Support; What Can I Do?The court sets rules for parents to follow after a divorce or in situations related to child custody. In situations where one party does not follow the rules set forth, it is critical for the other parent to take action. While there are various strategies to consider, your first step should be to contact our New Orleans child support attorneys at The Law Office of James A Graham to learn more about your options.

What typically occurs in child support cases

When child support decisions are made, the court ultimately aims to make a decision it believes is fair and in the best interest of the child. That typically means both parents contribute to the child’s well-being. The court will make specific decisions related to how much each parent must contribute and how to do so. This decision is typically made based on the ability of the parents to provide that support.

In situations where circumstances change, the parent is required to come to the court to request a change. Until that change occurs, both parents are required to continue to follow the rules of the initial ruling. When modifications do occur due to the court’s approval, then those new rules apply.

In most situations, the parent that is non-custodial, meaning the child does not live there full-time, pays support to the custodial parent. The amount is determined by Louisiana Support Guidelines. The guidelines are complex and require numerous steps to determine them on your own. Our New Orleans child support lawyers would be happy to help you navigate those decisions.

What to do if the co-parent stops paying child support

In situations where one parent stops paying child support – no matter the reason – it is critical to alert the court to this. The parent could be held in contempt because they are not following the court order to make payment.

The court then has the ability to take legal action against that parent. This may include one or several steps based on the details of the case. Some examples include:

  • Garnishing wages
  • Interception of tax refunds
  • Passport denial
  • Loss of professional license
  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Fines and fees
  • Jail time (in some situations)

When you take the step to enforce a court-ordered child support payment by filing a grievance with the court, the court then takes action to investigate what is occurring. Once they verify that the co-parent is supposed to be making payments but is failing to do so, the court will then determine the legal step to take.

If this continues, the court will take aggressive steps to get the party to make payment as required. You, as the other parent, can collect child support payments that are not paid for as long as 10 years from the date that they are past due.

In Louisiana, there is a publicly accessible file that lists the parent’s delinquency on child support payments as well as how much they owe. This information is available to anyone who seeks it out. That could include their employer. Falling behind on child support payments can be detrimental in many ways as a result.

Will the court send the co-parent to jail?

One of the options the court may have is to pursue jail time for the person who is not paying child support as required under the law. While that person is in jail serving their time, child support payments are suspended. That is the case unless the court can prove that the parent still has the means to pay the child support while they are in jail. Those payments can then be added to the end of the child support payment period (which usually ends when the child reaches the age of 18).

How our New Orleans child support attorneys can help you

Child support is both fair and essential. It is meant to ensure that a child’s needs are met, and as such, it is often awarded with the sole goal of ensuring that the child is cared for in the best possible manner. When a co-parent violates the court’s order in this area, it is your right to seek out financial compensation for those losses. Recouping the child support payments is not something to feel bad about – it is money owed to you for the care of your child.

Let our attorneys fight for your rights. We will help you determine what your options are. Ultimately, the goal for many clients is to get the support owed to them. Many times, co-parents do not want the other parent to go to jail. They simply want them to pay what is owed. Other times, there may be a desire to change visitation rights or to seek additional strategies that you believe are in the child’s best interests.

As your child support attorneys in New Orleans, we work to educate you on your legal rights and the strategies that may help you obtain the payment owed to you.

Do not try to withhold custody of your child to a co-parent that is behind on payments

To ensure the court continues to see you in a positive light, avoid trying to change or limit custody with the co-parent even if they fail to make payment to you. When you stop allowing for court-ordered child custody, you are then violating a court order yourself. That simply puts your case more on the line. Violations of court orders for child custody are much the same as what can occur to the co-parent not paying the owed child support – even if they stop paying before you limit custody or visitation.

There is no doubt a case like this is frustrating and often quite difficult for parents. Let us help you. At The Law Office of James A. Graham, we fight to protect our clients’ rights, and that means seeking out all legal strategies to help you get child support payments coming in again. Call our New Orleans office or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation.