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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Sep 29, 2015

Divorce can be a difficult process for everyone involved, especially when you have children with an ex. Even after it’s finished, tensions can be high and enforcing alimony and child support payments can be like pulling teeth. Here’s some information on what to do if your ex-spouse has fallen behind on alimony or child support payments.

Refusal to pay alimony or child support is considered a defiance of a court order. If your ex is not paying, contacting legal help should be your first action. Enforcing payments often requires a return to family or divorce court, in which you’ll need to show evidence that your former spouse hasn’t made payments at all or hasn’t made full or timely payments, as well as how these nonpayments are causing you financial difficulty.

Typically, these types of situations are resolved in one of three ways, mediation, a lawsuit in small claims court, and wage garnishment. When you take the mediation route, you’ll need a certified mediator and it’s best to have an attorney present.

The law is clear on cases like these, especially in regards to child support. The Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984 requires district attorneys to help you collect child support from an ex who refuses to pay. Enforcement can include:

  • Withholding tax refunds and using them to pay child support
  • Wage garnishment
  • Seizing property
  • Suspending a business or occupational license.
  • Revoking the delinquent payer’s driver’s license.

Only as a last resort, the court can hold your ex in contempt and impose a jail term. The courts realize, however, that a person in jail cannot earn the income required to make court-ordered payments, so this resort is rarely used.

man in handcuffs

The emotional and financial issues with separation can be difficult enough to navigate. These difficulties are compounded when an ex-spouse is not compliant with court orders to make alimony or child support payments. If you are having difficulties like these, speak to an experienced attorney today.