When Your Ex Refuses To Pay Child Support: Dos and Don’ts 

When Your Ex Refuses To Pay Child Support: Dos and Don’ts 

Child support is a financial payment from one parent to another. However, some people are resentful that they have to pay child support and might refuse to pay it. In other situations, a parent may encounter financial difficulties and have trouble keeping up with their obligation. 

In either situation, there are steps that the recipient parent can take to get the child support they need.

If your ex has refused to pay child support, a lawyer can help. Here, we discuss the dos and don’ts of dealing with this situation in South Carolina

How Child Support Is Determined in South Carolina

You should understand how much child support your spouse should be paying. South Carolina uses child support guidelines and an income shares model. Under these guidelines, each parent is expected to provide the same proportionate share of financial support to their child that they would if they lived together. This model considers the income of both parents. 

If your ex has refused to pay child support, it might be reassuring to know that you may have several options. Your ex can face severe penalties if they refuse to follow the court’s order. Their credit and job can be affected. They can also lose standing in the social community.

An experienced child support lawyer can review your case and explain your options. These may include filing a child support case, filing contempt of court charges, and/or seeking enforcement actions.

Potential Consequences For Not Paying Child Support

Don’t think that if your ex is refusing to pay child support, they will get off scot-free. 

State and federal laws allow district attorneys and lawyers to seek various forms of redress if a parent is not paying court-ordered child support, including:

  • Having to appear before the court during contempt proceedings
  • Ordering fines
  • Suspending their driver’s license
  • Reporting the delinquency to professional licensing authorities
  • Garnishing wages 
  • Withholding other forms of income, such as unemployment benefits and workers’ compensation payments
  • Intercepting tax refunds
  • Placing liens on real and personal property
  • Reporting delinquent accounts to credit bureaus
  • Requesting possible jail time
  • Excluding parents from certain government benefits

Understanding these potential consequences can help when you are considering your options.

Dos: What You Should Do If Your Ex Refuses To Pay Child Support

Here is a short list of things to do if your ex is refusing to pay child support: 

Do Communicate With Your Ex

Keep the lines of communication open with your ex. Try to figure out why they are not paying support. Did they recently lose their job? Are they sick? Are they having some other type of financial setback? 

South Carolina allows an obligated parent to request a modification of the child support order if there is a change in circumstances. Your ex might have the right to do this. You could try to work out an agreement with your ex regarding how they can get caught up on payments. 

Do Open a Child Support Case

Child support is typically ordered when a couple divorces. However, if the couple was never married, one of the parents will need to petition the court and open a child support/paternity case to make child support a court-mandated requirement. Most enforcement actions are not possible without an underlying court order. 

If your ex doesn’t have a good reason for not paying support and does not quickly catch up on their obligation, you may be able to take legal action. For example, you can ask the court to hold your ex in contempt and order them to pay the money they owe. 

Do Request an Income Withholding Order

An income withholding order instructs an obligated parent’s employer to withhold the proper amount of child support from their paychecks and remit them to the other parent or the South Carolina State Disbursement Unit. These orders can increase the likelihood that you will receive the child support you are due. 

Don’ts: What You Shouldn’t Do If Your Ex Refuses To Pay Child Support

Here is a list of things not to do if your ex is refusing to pay child support:

Don’t Restrict Visitation 

Child support and visitation are treated separately in South Carolina. Don’t withhold visitation just because your ex is withholding payment. 

Don’t Harass Your Ex

Also, avoid getting yourself in your own legal trouble. Do not harass your ex. Calling repeatedly to demand what they owe you is probably not going to help.

Don’t Make Empty Threats

If you’re not planning to take your ex to court, don’t threaten that you are. If you are considering taking legal action, don’t discuss this with your ex. Instead, work with your lawyer to determine the best strategy. 

Don’t Go Through This Alone – Call a South Carolina Child Support Attorney For Assistance

If your ex is refusing to pay child support, you may need the services of a knowledgeable child support lawyer. We’re here to help you in every way we can. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.

To learn more and get the help you deserve, call our divorce & family law firm Minor Law Divorce Lawyers in Rock Hill, SC at (803) 504-0971 or contact us online today.
You can also visit our law firm at 1273 Ebenezer Rd, Suite B, Rock Hill, SC 29732.

We serve throughout York County.