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How do you enforce a child support order?

On Behalf of | May 11, 2021 | Family Law |

In North Carolina, both parents are required to support their children. A child support order is just that – a court order – and it must be followed even by those who are having trouble paying. Instead of failing to pay, people with genuine financial troubles should file a petition to modify their child support order.

If your child’s other parent owes child support and is not paying, you have a couple of options. You may have a court order through the local Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSE). If you do, you can contact your caseworker for assistance.

If you are not going through CSE, you should consult with an attorney to file a motion in the local district court. This is generally a “motion to show cause,” and a motion for contempt that asks the court to hold the non-paying parent in contempt of court.

After your attorney files this motion, the court will hold a hearing to determine if the non-paying parent should be held in contempt. If the court does hold your children’s other parent in contempt, it could then enforce the order through a variety of measures, including jail time, garnishment of wages, withholding or suspending state licensing privileges, transferring the other party’s personal property to you, or transferring money from retirement accounts or other assets.

Can I withhold visitation for non-payment of child support?

No. Child custody and visitation are separate issues from child support. Your custody order is a court order and must be followed regardless of whether your child’s other parent is doing paying their support. You should not attempt to force payment by denying your ex-spouse time with the children.

What happens if my child turns 18 but my ex still owes child support?

Child support generally continues until your child turns 18 and has graduated from high school. After those conditions are met, in most cases, your child support order expires.

That does not mean that your ex doesn’t owe the unpaid support. If your child’s other parent is in arrears, their child support payments must continue until all the back child support is paid.

What if my ex is in another state?

Child support orders from one state can still be enforced by other states. The order needs to be presented to the court of the other state, and that court can hold the non-paying parent in contempt.

Trying to collect child support can be a hassle, but your kids deserve all of the money your ex was ordered to pay. Get help from a compassionate attorney who will go the extra mile for you.


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