What happens when your ex-spouse stops paying child support?

You would do anything for your child. They deserve to not only have their needs met, but also feel supported. When an ex-spouse stops paying child support, it may become difficult for your child to succeed. Perhaps your ex’s payments helped pay for piano lessons, soccer gear, dental braces or outfits for school. This sudden breach in the agreement can produce harmful drawbacks. What should you do if this happens?

There are many reasons why a parent might stop making alimony payments — some of them understandable. Possibly, they lost their job or they are suffering from a medical condition. On the other hand, they cannot stop making payments whenever they feel it’s time or to “punish” you or your children. The court orders child custody payments. Therefore, your ex-spouse has a legal obligation to keep up their end of the agreement.

In Connecticut, the Support Enforcement Services Unit will help enforce your child support order, using tools such as:

  • Income withholding: According to court order, child support may be collected by deducting money from your ex-spouse’s income and other forms of benefits and compensation.
  • Contempt: The court might find that your ex intentionally failed to obey court order. In this finding, that parent might have to pay a lump sum of money or face jail time until they pay.
  • License Suspension: Again, the court might find your co-parent is disobeying court orders, therefore their license could be suspended after 30 days. This can be their driver’s license, occupational license or professional license.

If your co-parent is simply incapable of making timely alimony payments, you might want to consider adjusting the agreement until they get back on their feet. But if your ex is fully capable, but unwilling, you might have to head back to court. Before doing so, be sure to seek legal assistance when drafting legal motions. You want to be sure you are well represented in court for the sake of you and your child.