What to Do if Spouse Refuses to Pay Child Support

  • By:Karpenski & Schmelkin

One of the issues that arises when you are getting a divorce is child support. Child support is a parent’s court-ordered payment to help with the costs of raising a child. In Massachusetts, child support obligations normally last until the child turns 21 years old but can continue until he or she turns 23 or graduates from college, whichever occurs first.[1]The parent who the child lives with most of the time is often called the custodial parent.

The other parent is often called the non-custodial parent. Generally, the non-custodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent. If children were born of your marriage and you are the custodial parent, you have the legal right to request child support from your soon to be ex.

Child support is meant to help pay for your child’s housing, education costs, food and clothing. Children have the right to financial support from both parents. It does not matter if the parents are married, divorced, separated, or never married.

The Court uses the Child Support Guidelines to determine (and in some cases change) the amount of the child support order.  The Massachusetts Trial Court’s Child Support Guidelines worksheet will give you an estimate of the amount of money the Court might order for child support in your case. The calculations are income driven and based on the Child Support Guidelines.

Not getting child support payments from your former spouse can be devastating if you are having difficulty providing your child with basic necessities. If you are in this situation, in Massachusetts, you should know your rights and what you can do. Here’s more information:

Try Talking With Your Ex First

Before you take legal action, you may want to talk with your former spouse first. There may be a legitimate reason why s/he is not paying or no longer paying child support. There may not be.

Take Legal Action

If you and your former spouse are not on speaking terms or if s/he simply refuses to pay child support, take legal action. If the court ordered or adjudged child support payments have not been paid you can request the court enforce the support order or judgment. There are a few ways the court can enforce child support orders/judgments. They include the following:

  • Your ex’s wages can be garnished
  • Property owned by your former spouse can be seized
  • Your ex’s occupational license can be suspended
  • Your ex’s business license can be suspended
  • Your former spouse’s driver’s license can be revoked

For exceptional assistance with your child support issues, and any aspect of your divorce or family law matter, contact the knowledgeable and experienced attorneys at Karpenski & Schmelkin, Divorce and Family Law Attorneys for more information.

[1]See Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines at M.G.L. c. 208 §28

Posted in: Child Support