Recently on our forum a user asked, “My ex refuses to pay child support. He has a great job, although most of the wages he earns are paid in cash and cannot be tracked. My question is this: Why do I have to let him see a child that he refuses to support?”
It’s one of the great mysteries of child support enforcement. In fact, it seems logical that withholding visitations rights may be the best leverage the state has to enforce child support payment. Unfortunate (for those not receiving child support payments), the state views the right of a parent to participate in their child’s life as a separate legal issue from whether or not they are current on their child support payments.
In fact, the law goes so far as to emphasize that “parents have a fundamental right in the care, custody and control of their children.” The state, barring any evidence of abuse or neglect, also generally assumes it is in the “best interests of the child” to have a relationship with both parents.
Child support enforcement without retaliation
As mentioned above, the state is clear that the custodial parent does not have the legal authority to undermine the child support order, even if the noncustodial parent refuses to follow the child support agreement. The good news is that the state does have measures it will take to help the custodial parent enforce the child support order.
What does this mean for you? If you are not receiving the child support you are entitled to receive it is time to take action.
Each state has an agency which is responsible to help parents enforce child support orders. For example, in the State of Texas if you are the custodial parent and the noncustodial parent is refusing to make child support payments, you can contact the Child Support Division of the Attorney General’s Office.
After you initiate your claim, the Child Support Enforcement division for your state will use a variety of techniques to ensure payment.
For example, they may be able to initiate a wage garnishment, or to intercept federal income tax refund checks, lottery earnings or any other earnings paid by the state. They also can file liens against your ex-spouse’s property, making it impossible for them to sell their assets without clearing the liens.
Finally, if your ex likes to hunt or fish or needs a professional license, he’s out of luck; the state can suspend licensing by the state or federal government.
It’s tough when you are not getting the support you need for your children. You may feel like taking matters into your own hands, but legally, this can be very dangerous. It’s better not to do anything to jeopardize the custody and care you are now able to give your children.
Instead of playing tug of war with your children and threatening to withhold visitation from your ex, it’s always better to utilize the resources available from the state. The good news is there are people ready to help you who are trained in getting parents to meet their parental support obligations.
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