As a parent, you are more than aware of the financial challenges that come with raising a child, especially if you are a single parent. Even basics, like food, clothing, proper housing, child care, and health care can be overwhelming, not to mention any extras like school fees, holidays, and extracurricular costs.
You should never have to struggle with your child’s needs because the other parent is not paying child support. We are looking at how working with a child support enforcement attorney can help you navigate the challenges of collecting what you are owed so you can properly provide for your child.
What Is Child Support Enforcement in NC?
Child support enforcement (CSE) is a national program designed to make sure parents are fulfilling their support responsibility. They work with custodial parents and guardians to locate parents, assist in paternity cases, aid in petitions for child support payments and initiate legal action against parents who don’t pay their court-ordered support.
While this program can help parents collect child support, it may not be the best option. Because it’s through a state agency, there can be a long wait to get the assistance you need. Additionally, taking aggressive action through Child Support Enforcement may cause a rift between the two parents and lead to an acrimonious relationship that is detrimental to the family unit, particularly the children. Also, if you have a child support agreement rather than a court-ordered child support program, CSE may not be available.
Instead, by working with a child support attorney to help you move forward, you can get a personalized strategy for collecting child support. In some cases, this may require taking aggressive action to navigate the legal options as we will describe below or a more collaborative approach to mediate a discussion between the two parties to get back on track.
How Is Child Support Collected When a Parent Doesn’t Pay?
When a parent does not pay the child support determined in the court-ordered divorce agreement, this is breaking a law, and the court can take action against the parent as outlined in the North Carolina General Statute Chapter 50-13.1. Actions include:
- Being held in contempt of court
- Prosecuted for failure to pay and sentenced to up to 30 days in jail
- Having their driver’s license suspended or revoked
- Having their tax refunds garnished
The most common way for the court to collect child support is through wage garnishment, in which payments are directly deducted from the parent’s paycheck and sent to the custodial parent. A child support attorney can assist with obtaining a court order called a “writ of execution” which directs the parent’s employer to garnish their wages.
Can I Withhold Visitation for Non-Payment?
Often when a custodial parent is not paid child support, they may stop visitation and prevent the child from seeing the parent, sometimes taking action to terminate parental rights. While failing to pay child support is a dereliction of responsibility, the custodial parent can not withhold visitation as “punishment,” as this is a violation of a court order, and terminating parental rights is typically only enacted in the most extreme cases of abuse or neglect.
Instead, it is important to work with an attorney who can help you collect what you are owed so you can properly care for your family, rather than taking legal matters into your own hands.
Schedule a Consultation with a Child Support Attorney in Raleigh Today
If you are owed support for your child, we can help you get the money you are owed. We can work with both parents to get back into good standing and catch up on owed support as well as help you navigate through more aggressive methods in child support enforcement. Schedule a consultation so we can discuss your options at (919) 301-8843 or fill out the form below to get started.
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