A common feature of many divorce and child custody cases in Ohio is child support. If the divorcing or separating individuals have a child in common, chances are high that one parent will be ordered by the court to pay a sum of child support to the other parent on a regular basis. The amount of child support that is ordered is determined using a specific formula; nonetheless, confrontations between the divorced or separated parents over child support are not uncommon. The parent ordered to pay child support may even cease paying support altogether if they feel the amount is unfair or if they believe the other parent is not spending the support wisely.
What You Should Not Do if the Other Parent Stops Paying Support
It can be incredibly frustrating to you if the other parent of your child stops paying court-ordered support. It may even be frightening or unnerving if you depend on the support to help make ends meet. Nonetheless, you should not stop following the orders of the court or the parenting plan that has been approved by the court. This means you should not deny the other parent visitation when scheduled, withhold property belonging to them that has yet to be returned to them, or take other actions that violate the court’s orders. In this situation, two wrongs do not make you right.
You should also refrain from alienating your child from the other parent. This means not disparaging the other parent or complaining about the other parent’s shortcomings in front of your child. The payment of child support is a grown-up matter that should be resolved between you and the other parent and with the court’s assistance, if necessary.
Taking the higher road is not just about moral superiority: courts can levy severe sanctions against either party for failing to follow its orders. These can include fines, jail, and modifications to the parenting plan.
What You Should Do if the Other Parent Stops Paying Support
You should take prompt and appropriate action as soon as the other parent ceases to pay child support. If the other parent has otherwise made regular payments, a simple call to them may reveal that some oversight or inconvenience has occurred that has made the payment late. In other cases, though (such as where the other parent has affirmatively stated that they will no longer pay child support), you need legal help right away.
You or your attorney should bring the matter to the court as soon as possible by filing a motion and requesting a hearing as soon as possible. Your motion should lay out the facts of the situation, including whether the other parent has willfully refused to pay child support and how long the failure has persisted. You should keep any messages, voicemails, or other communication you have received from the other parent regarding child support and be prepared to provide a payment ledger or other similar evidence that can demonstrate that payments have not been made as ordered.
When to Seek Legal Help for a Child Support Dispute
If you are uncertain as to what steps you should take when you are no longer receiving any child support, do not hesitate to reach out for help from an experienced Columbus family law attorney. Delaying in taking any action will only prolong the amount of time you must wait for the court to take action. Moreover, your attorney may be able to help you bring your case before the court more speedily.
If you are needing assistance with any child support matter, reach out to the Dawes Legal, LLC family law team by calling (614) 733-9999.