What Can I Do if My Ex Has Fallen Behind on Child Support?

When a child support payor (the person responsible for paying support) falls behind on his or her support obligations or stops paying altogether, it can create a tremendous financial burden for the child support payee (the person who receives support).

Likewise, falling behind on child support payments can result in severe consequences for the payor.

Whether you’re the child support payor or payee, this is a situation to avoid whenever possible.

How Child Support Is Enforced

Child support orders are enforced by the Family Responsibility Office (FRO), which is authorized to take specific actions when a payor stops paying support or falls behind on support. The FRO oversees child support orders in both separations and divorces.

When a support-paying parent fails to meet his or her child support obligations, the FRO has several methods of collecting unpaid support.

For example, the FRO can garnish the paying parent’s wages or their bank account (up to half of their bank account if it’s a joint account with another person). It also has the authority to suspend the payor’s driver’s license. In some cases, the FRO will also revoke a child support payor’s passport or place a lien against the payor’s real estate or personal property. Additionally, payor parents can also have their unpaid child support payments reported to the credit bureaus.

Some child support payees choose to forego child support payment processing through the FRO. Instead, they opt to receive their child support payments directly from the payor. When a non-payment issue arises, however, they have no way to enforce their child support order. The payee parent may have to pay a fee to file his or her child support order with the FRO to begin enforcing it.

However you plan to receive child support, it’s important to work with an experienced family law lawyer.