Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law
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What should I do if my ex-spouse isn't paying child support?

When a couple with children separates, one parent will often get physical custody of the child while the other parent is required to pay child support every month to help with the child's expenses. However, some parents fall behind on their child support payments or just don't pay at all. If you find yourself in this situation, there are steps you can take to ensure that your children get the financial support they deserve.

Generally, couples will have a court order in place specifying custody arrangements, parenting time and child support. It is important to note that even if your child's other parent is not paying child support, you should still make sure to follow the court order. You may not refuse to let your child's other parent see the child just because they didn't make their payments. At the same time, the other parent may not withhold child support based on their lack of parenting time.

If your ex-spouse is not paying child support, don't take matters into your own hands. Instead, go through the proper channels and let the court handle your case. First, you will need to file a Motion for an Order to Show Cause and a supporting statement explaining how your ex-spouse violated the order. If the court finds your claim to be sufficient, a hearing will be scheduled and both you and your ex-spouse will have to appear in court. You will both state your case in front of the judge or court commissioner. If the judge sides with you, the court will issue an enforcement order which may include a judgment for past due child support. When ex-spouses violate this order, they may face fines or jailtime.

Child support is essential to your child's well-being. Make sure your child is taken care of by enforcing your child support agreement through the court.

Source: Utah Courts, "Motion to Enforce Domestic Orders," accessed on April 25, 2017

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