Your children are not supposed to suffer economically because their parents divorced. They have a legal right to the continued financial support of both their parents.
Unfortunately, parents sometimes withhold child support if they are angry with their co-parent or unhappy with the way visits with the children are going. Sometimes, parents experience financial setbacks and dip into their child support instead of putting off other obligations.
Child support is a court-ordered duty, and a parent faces consequences if they do not pay on time. If your co-parent is behind on child support, contact a seasoned child support attorney. A Red Bank child support enforcement lawyer could help you force your co-parent to make the payments they owe your children.
A government office, the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS), collects most child support in the state. If the parent is employed, child support is a direct deduction from their paycheck, and DCSS pays it to the receiving parent. If a parent stops paying support, DCSS could take administrative actions to bring the child support up to date.
When parents are unemployed or self-employed, collecting child support could be more difficult. If the parents opted not to use DCSS to collect their payments, a parent could fall substantially behind, and the state would not know about it. A receiving parent who is not getting child support as agreed should contact DCSS to report the co-parent’s delinquency.
A parent who is not receiving the child support owed could wait for DCSS to intervene, or they could contact a Red Bank child support enforcement attorney. Sometimes, bringing a motion to compel a paying parent to comply with a child support order brings faster results.
A receiving parent could opt to work through DCSS or a seasoned legal professional to enforce a child support order. In either case, a parent faces significant consequences for failing to pay child support. According to Tennessee Statute §36-5-101, the potential actions DCSS or a judge could take against the delinquent parent include:
Going to court is not necessary to secure these remedies, but court is often faster. Like most government agencies, DCSS typically has a substantial backlog.
If the receiving parent decides to take the paying parent to court, they have an additional remedy that is not available to DCSS. A judge could put the offending parent in jail until they bring their support payments up to date. Though, judges will not typically take this action if sentencing a delinquent parent to jail could further delay child support payments. However, if the parent clearly has the money but is refusing to support their child, jail time is a possibility.
Asking a court to find a delinquent parent in contempt of a court order and sentence them to jail is a big step. It often harms the relationship the parent has with their child. Although punishing a co-parent for delinquent child support could seem appealing, discussing the pros and cons with a knowledgeable enforcement lawyer in Red Bank before seeking a contempt order is wise.
Parents sometimes withhold access to the children from a parent who does not pay child support as agreed. Although it might be tempting to leverage time with the children to induce a delinquent parent to pay, it could backfire.
Just as child support is a child’s right, so is time with both parents. When one parent denies the other access due to a child support dispute, the parent denies the child their right to visit with their other parent.
Parents must not let child support disputes influence either parent’s relationship with the children. Instead, consult with a qualified child support enforcement attorney in Red Bank about the most efficient way to force the parent to pay what they owe.
If your co-parent is behind on their child support, do not let it slide. Take action immediately. Your children have the right to your co-parent’s financial support, and it is up to you to make sure they get it.
A Red Bank child support enforcement lawyer could advise you about the most effective way to enforce a child support order in your specific case. Reach out for a consultation as soon as your co-parent falls behind on their payments.