What can you do if your ex owes you child support and won’t pay it back? There are definitely options available to you.

Some things you might want to consider include:

  • Going to court to ask to have your ex’s wages garnished. This is well within Utah state law and ORS policy.
  • Ask the court for a motion of contempt against your ex. If one is issued, the threat of jail time for contempt may be enough to get them to pay what they owe.
  • Request your attorney to file a motion with the court on your behalf to demand your ex pay the child support. Your ex will have to come to court and explain their financial circumstances to the judge to avoid having a warrant issued for them.
  • Be proactive. If your ex is refusing to pay, it is up to you to take action. You will need to go to court to ask for a demand for payment, or payment plan. First, your ex must be shown to be willfully not paying. This means the court must prove your ex knows about the obligation, is able to pay, and is willfully refusing to do so. If willfulness can be proven, your ex will be ordered to pay the arrearage, either all at once or on a payment plan, or face jail time.

Experienced back child support attorney David Pedrazas can help you take the steps that are needed in order to get the child support you are owed.

Frequently Asked Questions About Exes Not Paying Back Child Support

No. Though it is illegal for your ex to refuse to pay child support in most cases (there are a few exceptions, which we will discuss), it is not legal for you to violate a visitation order if he does not pay. These are two separate issues, and you must uphold the visitation agreement regardless of whether or not he is paying, or you could be held in contempt of court. If your ex isn't paying, take him to court to see if he can be forced to, but under no circumstances deny him visitation.
Yes. A move out of state does not negate the existing child support agreement. There are interstate agreements between the various states that can work in your favor to get a warrant for him wherever he is, and to get him extradited back to your state to face charges of not paying. As long as the child support agreement has not been modified by a judge, he still has to pay regardless of where he lives in the United States.
Usually. Just because the spouse who is supposed to be paying child support doesn't have an income usually doesn't mean the child support obligation goes away. Child support money can be taken out of your ex's unemployment or disability benefits, if doing so will not place an undue financial burden on him. If your ex does have significantly reduced financial circumstances through no fault of his own, he can ask the court to reduce or temporarily eliminate the child support obligation, and they may do it.
Your ex still pays it. However, his child support obligation can be modified, depending on his circumstances. He can ask your family court judge to modify the order while he is in jail. Judges are not required to follow state child support guidelines if your ex is expected to be in jail for three or more years. Now, if your ex has assets outside of jail, like investments, rental income, bank accounts with money in them, disability or retirement benefits, or other sources of passive income, those can be garnished to pay the child support while he is in jail. If your ex has no financial assets, you may not be able to collect child support while your ex is in jail. However, the amount your ex owes will accrue, and he will be required to pay it when he is released.
When a parent in Utah fails to pay court-ordered child support payments, he or she will probably be required to appear in court to explain why the payments have not been paid. The parent may be held in contempt of court and charged a large fine, to be paid in addition to the past-due child support. He/she may also be sentenced to jail until the past-due amount is collected. The court and Utah Child Support Services can enforce payment of the arrearage by garnishing wages, levying bank accounts, and seizing federal and state income tax refunds.
Past-due child support payments cannot be discharged in bankruptcy in Utah. Bankruptcy cannot be used to hold or stay actions to order or modify child support in court. If you are a noncustodial parent who has stopped paying child support and you’re undergoing bankruptcy, you may need an attorney experienced in both child support and bankruptcy law to help you. If your financial circumstances have changed since the child support order was issued, you can request a modification of the order. However, even if the court grants your motion to reduce your child support payments going forward, you will still be required to pay the full balance of payments that are in arrears.
Under Utah law, if the party responsible for paying court-ordered child support payments does not obey the order, the other party may file a motion requesting that the court enforce it. Yourchild support lawyer can file a Motion for an Order to Show Cause along with the required supporting statement of facts showing what the other party did that disobeyed the court order, such as failing to pay X number of child support payments totaling $X. Your ex must appear and explain why he/she should not be held in contempt. There are two possible outcomes:
  • Your spouse gives the court a good explanation for the delinquency and a satisfactory arrangement is made to resolve the arrearage.
  • The court may find the party in contempt, which carries up to a $1,000 fine and 30 days of jail time, or the court may enter a judgment for the total amount of back child support owed. If the party has a history that warrants it, criminal nonsupport may be charged, which is usually ranked as a class A misdemeanor, which carries up to $2,500 in fines and a year in jail. In more extreme cases of nonpayment or a record of similar instances, a third-degree felony charge may be brought, which carries up to $5,000 in fines and 5 years in jail.
Then, if your former spouse does not pay, you can then pursue legal remedies, such as a wage garnishment or attaching a judgment lien to your ex-spouse’s property. If you’re having trouble collecting past-due child support payments, you need the best lawyer for enforcing child support Utah has available to you to obtain the most favorable and fastest possible outcome.
A parent who does not pay child support payments as ordered by the court can be ordered to appear before a judge and explain why he or she has not paid. In certain cases, such as injury or illness that has rendered the person unable to work or pay, the judge might suspend the child support payments for some period of time. However, usually, the person is found in contempt of court, and penalties are added to the past-due child support amount. In such cases, a jail sentence may be imposed until the arrearage is paid. The court, working with Child Support Services, can enforce payment in various ways, such as garnishing wages, placing a levy on bank accounts, and expropriating federal and state tax refunds.
Naturally, parents want to help ensure that their children are financially supported, and the State of Utah recognizes child support as your child’s right. This legal right is not something the ex-spouses can agree to dismiss. The law requires that the custodial parent get child support regardless of any preference the divorcing parents may have to eliminate it as an issue in a divorce. Fortunately, this means that your ex cannot control the amount of child support that must be paid. But, your ex-spouse also does not have the authority to waive the child support requirement.
You’ll be required to explain why you have not paid. If you can’t be reached or don’t comply, non-criminal penalties may be considered, like wage garnishment, and issuing a judgment against you (which can impact your credit rating). The court can levy your bank account(s), take your income tax refund(s), and even order your driver’s license suspended until your support payments are current or an arrangement is made. In more serious cases, you may be charged with criminal nonsupport, which carries up to $5,000 in fines and 5 years of jail time in extreme cases.

Contact Family Law Attorney David Pedrazas Today

Do you need help collecting child support arrears from your ex? Contact the Law Office of David Pedrazas in Salt Lake City, Utah. David Pedrazas has more than fifteen years of experience in family law and has handled hundreds of cases just like yours. He knows what to do to give you the best chance of getting your ex to pay you the money your ex owes you.

Contact the law office of David Pedrazas today for a legal case review, and get your ex to pay.

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