If your ex-partner has not been paying child support for some time, then you should not wait for them to settle the debt whenever they wish. Instead, you should petition the court for help in recovering the money. Here are some of the ways in which the court can help you:
Withholding Income Tax Refund
This method works if the other parent has some income tax refund due to them. Assuming the delinquent parent has been faithful to their income tax reporting, and they have some tax refunds due to them, the government can divert that money and use it for child support. This is one of the reasons you should register your child support order with the local child support collection agency; this is the only way the agency will know that the other parent is supposed to pay child support and ensure that they pay.
Placing Liens on Personal Property
It may also be possible to place liens on the other parent's personal property such as their car. In such a case, the parent may be forced to pay the overdue child support or risk having their car sold and the proceeds used to pay the overdue child support. State laws determine which personal properties can be used for child support; consult your family law attorney for clarification on which of the other parent's personal property may be used for child support.
Freezing Bank Accounts
If the other parent has some money in the bank, then that can also be frozen or garnished to pay child support. For the freezing option, the parent is prevented from accessing their money until they pay the overdue child support. Alternatively, if there is adequate money in the bank account, the government can seize it and use it for paying the child support.
There is also the option of withholding professional licenses or the driving license of the parent who is refusing to pay child support. The license is suspended until the parent pays the past child support money. This may work as long as the other parent is a member of a professional body that requires licensing, for example, if they are a dentist, electrician or a plumber. Of course, the license can't actually give you money if the threat doesn't work and the parent doesn't pay up, but most people will pay if their source of livelihood is threatened.
You don't have to call a lawyer the first time the paying spouse defaults on their child support obligations. You can try talking to them first to see if you can resolve the issue amicably. However, you should consult a family law attorney, such as from Franklin & Rapp, if that doesn't help and the arrears keep on piling.