If you and your spouse have children and decide to divorce, the health and well-being of the children takes precedence. If you are the custodial, or primary residential parent (PRP) and the non-custodial, or alternate residential parent (ARP) has unintentionally or deliberately stopped making child support payments, it is time to take legal action. A dedicated Chattanooga child support enforcement lawyer could help you determine the right next steps for your family.
An experienced attorney could answer your questions and review your options for legal recourse. The right lawyer could guide you through the often delicate custody and support agreement cases to help you do what is best for your child’s health and welfare.
The Tennessee Department of Human Services’ Child Support Enforcement Services offers a variety of options to help non-custodial parents make monthly payments without involving the court. These options include methods of paying online using a credit card or mobile website, paying by mail, and using MoneyGram. Both parents may log into the Child Support Payment System to review a current listing of support payments.
If the alternative residential parent does not provide monthly child support payments, the Child Support Office will send an Income Withholding Order (IWO), automatically deducts part of the individual’s income for distribution to the custodial parent. Legal professionals in Chattanooga typically recommend working with the Child Support Office before pursuing enforcement possibilities in court.
Should the non-custodial parent fail to provide child support payments despite an Income Withholding Order by leaving their job or closing their bank accounts, the custodial parent must file a complaint with the state. The most common enforcement penalties include:
Local attorneys who regularly work on child support enforcement cases help their clients fill out the lengthy Department of Human Resources form to ensure they are error-free and otherwise correct.
Should the alternative residential parent be unable to pay monthly child support due to unemployment, reduced wages, or other financial hardships, they may file a petition to modify the agreement with their ex-spouse. Courts approve modifications in light of significant variance, such as the non-custodial parent’s income changing by at least 15 percent.
The courts typically approve modification requests unless they compromise the health of the children. If a child becomes gravely ill and requires specialized medical care, the non-custodial parent seeking a support modification will be denied even if the individual’s income has diminished. The court may also deny modification requests if the alternative residential parent intentionally did not make payments.
If your ex-spouse or child’s other parent refuses to make payments for any reason even after you work with the Department of Human Services, speak with a Chattanooga child support enforcement lawyer. Your co-parent is legally obligated to help you keep your minor children in good health and financially support their general welfare.
Take a stand for yourself and your children by calling a lawyer today to learn what your options are moving forward.