If your ex-spouse is not paying child support or maintenance as specified in the divorce decree, it may be time to take some action to enforce the judgment. While having a court order for your ex to pay you does not automatically guarantee payment on-time and in full, it does provide access to a lot of options that may help you collect the money.
First, you can file a garnishment to withhold money from your ex’s paycheck; if you cannot do this on your own, you can ask a family law attorney to assist you. This is the most common way to collect money from someone receiving a steady paycheck. The person receiving support has the option of choosing whether they want a wage withholding issued. In some cases, a Parenting Plan concerning child support will provide that a wage withholding will not issue because the parties have agreed otherwise. If the withholding for child support was not ordered originally and you would like to have that reversed, you should talk to an attorney to start the process of rectifying that situation.
Next, if your ex is capable of paying but is refusing to do so, the court may hold him or her in contempt of court. In this case, you have to show that your ex was financially capable of paying but refused to do so. If your ex is going through a bankruptcy, the duty to pay support still remains in effect. However, it makes it difficult to prove that they are financially capable of paying if they are seeking to discharge their debts for their inability to pay.
There are a variety of other options available for enforcing a judgment. Federal laws allow the interception of tax refunds to enforce child support orders. Other remedies available may include seizing property, revoking a driver’s license or passport, or requiring payments to be made through a Family Support Center which can act as a trustee for you. Many of these remedies apply in unique situations, so it is worth discussing your particular situation with your attorney to determine how best to proceed.