Wage garnishment is a drastic step for serious support issues

During your divorce, the court orders your spouse to pay child support. Your child lives with you all of the time. Your ex pays for a short time and then, as you feared, stops making the payments.

You know that this is a violation of the court order. You also know that wage garnishment is sometimes used to force parents to pay. Can you use it in this situation?

You may be able to, but it is considered something of a drastic step, and the court will not use it lightly. Typically, judges only consider it if the other person has neglected to pay for months, they are severely in arrears and are still not making payments. This not only shows that they probably won't start again on their own, but that you, as the custodial parent, are facing a serious hardship with the loss of those payments.

If your ex just forgets to make a payment one month, do not assume you can have their wages garnished so that the money goes directly to you. Even if they refuse to pay when asked that month, it may be far too soon to consider garnishment -- even though they have violated the court order. It is only after there is an established pattern of behavior that garnishment becomes an option that you want to explore.

Most custodial parents feel some hardship after even one missed child support payment, and it can put a family into financial trouble instantly. Make sure you're well aware of the legal options that you do have if you're not receiving the child support payments you're entitled to for your children.

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