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What options does a person have to collect child support?

When Utah residents have an important goal in mind, there are often multiple steps required in order to reach that goal. In many respects, the justice system works in a similar fashion, as individuals must complete several steps before they ultimately obtain the relief they are seeking.

For example, individuals often mistakenly believe that the end of a lawsuit is the end of a dispute. A divorce case, for example, typically concludes with the court entering a final order that sets out the parties' obligations, including the child support obligations.

This does not guarantee that the other party will actually uphold those obligations, however, despite being ordered by the court. For example, last week this blog discussed how a parent's child support obligation is calculated. Once that calculation is made and included in a court order, it is still up to the spouse to follow the child support order by making payments. Unfortunately, this often does not occur, as the other spouse may fail to pay what he or she was ordered, or fail to make any payments at all.

There are legal means of obtaining child support enforcement on the spouse who refuses to pay. State and federal agencies may lend some help toward enforcing a child support order, which can be a great help to the party who desperately needs to receive the payments. There can also be means of collecting the payments by garnishing the payor's wages or through other methods.

When these options fail, further court action may be necessary. The spouse who failed to make payments to the custodial parent can be asked to show cause to the court why that person failed to make payments. Ultimately, if the person fails to adequately meet this showing, it can result in further penalties being imposed, including even possible jail time. Accordingly, individuals should ensure they have pursued all options against the other party in order to receive the payments they were ordered to receive.

Source: Utah Courts, "Child Support," accessed on Aug. 2, 2015

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