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What to do if child support is being withheld

Custody of minor children and the requirement for child support payments are often the most hotly contested issues during a divorce. Often, the person who files for the divorce is allowed to file a temporary support and custody order until the divorce is finalized by the courts. Unfortunately, not all parents take their obligations for child support seriously. For the custodial parent, the failure of one's soon-to-be ex-spouse to comply with the ordered support can have real financial repercussions. If you are not receiving child support as ordered, you should take immediate steps to have the order enforced.

Do your best to follow visitation schedules

Even if your ex spouse is failing to make their scheduled child support payments, it's important that you uphold your part of the custody and support order. Failing to do so can make you look bad to the courts during the divorce proceedings. By doing your best to uphold the custody and visitation schedule, you are making it clear that you put your children's needs first during the divorce.

When it comes to talking about the missing payments with your ex, approach the situation with compassion, if possible. Has there been a change in career or the loss of a job that is impacting one's ability to pay? Is he or she willing to work with you to cover necessary expenses, or is your ex intentionally trying to dodge parental obligations?

Make sure you document any important details

Keep records of expenses incurred during times when support was not being paid and ensure your attorney is aware of the situation. It can also help to document statements from your former spouse that indicate he or she quit a job to avoid support or the person is otherwise intentionally violating the child support order. This can help if an adjustment to support levels is requested. The documentation can also protect your interests when going to court for final determination regarding custody. Working with an experienced divorce attorney can do a lot to ease the stress of child support disagreements.

California cares about child support enforcement

The state of California is more proactive than other states about protecting the custodial parent and minor children during divorce. Your attorney can approach the courts and request assistance with child support enforcement. That can include revoking or refusing to renew driver's licenses and other licenses, such as professional licenses.

The courts may also garnish wages or even issue a bench warrant for chronic offenders. An experienced divorce attorney can discuss the potential results of child enforcement requests, as well as your options for court intervention. If you are not receiving court ordered child support, particularly if you previously were not working with an attorney for your divorce, it is critical to obtain the assistance and guidance of an experienced divorce and family law attorney to protect yourself and your children.

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