What Should I Do If I Am Not Receiving the Full Amount of Child Support Ordered by the Court?

Legal scales on top of a large family law book.

With over 15 million children entitled to support through a child support order, these payments can be crucial to the financial well-being and care of a child. Therefore, when a parent is not receiving these payments in full, financial stress and hardships commonly arise that may cause significant worry in the mind of the parent relying on this financial support for their child. If you have been awarded child support and have not received the full amount as ordered by the court, contact an experienced child support attorney. We will be able to discuss your legal options and assist you in securing these essential funds to support your child.

Even if an obligated parent is making partial payments, they are considered to be delinquent in payments. Therefore, you will be able to take legal recourse. The first step is to consult with your attorney. We will analyze the court order providing for the child support payments and review with you the records of the child support payments. If the court ordered amount does not match the amount provided by the obligated parent you may then seek to file a Motion for Contempt and Enforcement.

This motion is employed when a party is violating a court order; here the order of child support. The motion will contain the initial court order displaying the required payment, as well as the past due amount. This order must be valid and enforceable in order to be considered by the court. This motion will then be served upon the obligated parent and will be set for a hearing before the court.

At the hearing, you will need to provide evidence that the obligated parent has not met the child support order. This evidence may come in the form of bank account deposits, checks, or receipts that display the amount paid by the party or their failure to pay. Finally, the court must find that the obligated parent has the present ability to meet the child support obligation. The court will assume the obligated parent has the present ability to make these payments however; the obligated parent may present evidence of their inability that you may need to contradict. Evidence of ability to pay can be found in tax returns, pay stubs, employment, or any other form of income.

If the court finds that there is a valid child support order, the obligated parent has failed to fully meet this court ordered obligation, despite their ability to do so, the court will find them in contempt. The court order finding the parent in contempt may contain different forms of repayment and punishment for the obligated parent. For instance, the court may order the parent to pay additional fines, suspension of driver’s license, or order a sentence of jail. Further, regarding enforcement, the court will implement a method to obtain future payments and the past due child support with interest. This may include income withholding; wage garnishment; seizure of tax refunds, lottery winnings, and financial accounts; or placing liens on property.

Child support obligations are extremely common and do become a source of financial dependency for parents in order to properly support and care for their child. Therefore, when these payments are neglected in full or part, financial worry can set in. Therefore, it is important to take legal action and secure the financial payments you are entitled to in order to provide for your child. Discuss your options, rights, and protections available to you with your lawyer as a recipient of a child support order.

Speaking to an attorney at our Pensacola office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at (800) 822-5170 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.

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