You rely on child support to pay for your child’s expenses. It’s a lifesaver because you don’t have as much money as you did when you and your ex were together.
However, now the monthly checks have stopped, and you aren’t sure what to do. You can’t afford your child’s bills all on your own or get another job. You’re already strapped for cash and stressed out as it is. It isn’t fair that your ex can just stop paying and leave you and your child with nothing to live on.
Thankfully, you do have recourse if your ex has stopped paying child support. But it will require taking legal action in getting the court involved to compel them to start paying again.
The following are steps to take if your ex has ceased paying child support in South Carolina.
Contact Your Attorney
Your family law attorney will know exactly what to do if your ex has stopped paying child support. They can work with your county’s child support enforcement office to schedule a hearing in court, or they may decide to file a private contempt action to get them to pay. Then, your ex will have to deal with something called the Rule to Show Cause, where they will have to show why they stopped paying. This is a contempt of court hearing.
If your ex is indeed found to be in contempt of court, then they will have to make up the missed payments immediately or on a specified schedule, depending on the circumstances. If your ex does not do that, then a number of consequences could ensue.
The court could:
- Garnish your ex’s wages from their paycheck
- Seize their federal or state tax refunds
- Intercept their unemployment checks
- Cause their license to be suspended
- Garnish their personal injury settlements that are more than $3,000
- Deduct from their Social Security or Workers’ Compensation Funds
In an extreme situation, your ex may also have to pay a fine of up to $1,500, and they could go to jail for up to one year.
All of these consequences could get you the money you need as well as persuade your ex to pay up as soon as possible.
Let’s say your ex wants to pay, but they can’t because they lost their job. Now, they are willing to make lower payments to you to show the court that they are not being irresponsible and are simply experiencing a hardship.
As long as your ex is willing to work with you, you could go to mediation with them and figure out a solution. Then if necessary, they could petition the court to lower their payments until they can find a new job again. Mediation may be the best solution in these circumstances because it may be less costly and save you the headache and emotional distress of fighting in court.
It can be very tempting to send angry text messages to your ex when they’re behind on child support, or talk about them in a negative way in front of your children or on social media. While you have the right to feel upset, acting emotional instead of logical could not only have a negative effect on your children, but could hurt your case as well.
At all times, you have to be the bigger person and show the court you’re a responsible parent. If you’re having a hard time talking nicely to your ex, you could always communicate through your lawyer instead and seek out a therapist for help during this difficult time.
Contact Nowell Law Firm, LLC
If your ex has stopped paying child support in South Carolina, family law attorneys at Nowell Law Firm will be able to help with your situation. If you are having trouble paying for your bills while waiting for child support, they’ll be able to direct you to the right resources.
Right now, it’s simply not fair that you’re struggling because your ex is irresponsible. You need an advocate on your side. Nowell Law Firm will help you every step of the way when you’re fighting for your child support, and will work hard to get you the support you and your child deserve. Contact our Spartanburg, SC office today to discuss your case.