Keeping Your Family Strong--Even Through Divorce

Steps To Recovering Missing Child Support Payments

by Kristen Wright

A divorce is already a stressful lifestyle change. What can make it worse is when you expect a child support payment, only for the other parent to not provide it in a timely fashion. This can have unfortunate consequences for everyone involved. Here are some steps you will have to take to ensure the child's parent receives the payments if he or she stops paying

Keep Solid Records of Payments

When you are the person who receives the child support payment, you need to document the payment every month as well as your child's expenses. Good record keeping will be a very important piece of evidence if you have to fight for the payments. Keep copies and receipts for anything utilized by your child. This includes their extra-curricular activities, medical bills, and even the utilities for your home.

These records will show the court you have quantifiable expenses for the period of time you did not receive child support, thus proves you had to provide those needs on your own.

Issue Written Notification to Your Former Spouse

After the payment has been missed, you need to notify your former spouse in writing regarding the situation. Email is ideal, but you can also do it via certified mail. Do not mail a letter with a regular stamp, as you will not have proof that you provided written notification.

In your notification, you need to only state the facts. Do not interject your personal feelings into the letter. Simply explain the payment is overdue and expound on the fact he or she is obligated to pay by the terms in your divorce decree.

By providing written notification, you will prove you made an effort to communicate the issue with your former spouse.

Involve the Court

If your written notification has not gotten a response, your next step is to go to court. You will have to file a petition to enforce your divorce agreement regarding child support payments. When you file the petition, you can tack on your court costs to the amount you are owed because of your spouse's failure to pay his or her obligation.

File a Lawsuit

As a last resort, you can opt to sue your spouse for the missing child support payment. Although it is not the most pleasant experience, it is a good way to ensure that you will eventually get paid. Otherwise, your former spouse will have legal consequences to face, including the possibility of jail time.

Contact a child support attorney for more assistance.