What if My Former Spouse Refuses to Pay Child Support?

by David Betz on Jan. 15, 2020

Divorce & Family Law Child Support Divorce & Family Law Divorce & Family Law  Family Law 

Summary: If your spouse is falling behind in support and is in contempt of court-ordered child support, do not ignore the problem or engage in petty fighting.

It is a common misconception that the Missouri family courts have the power to actively enforce a child support order.  Some mistakenly believe that if your spouse is delinquent in child support payments, they can act on their own accord and collect what is due to your child.  While in a sense they have a lot of power, they cannot act without first being petitioned to do so. If your former spouse is refusing to pay child support it is important to speak with your Missouri family law attorney to find out how to get them back on track.


In many cases, a judge has the power to enact a garnishment, but if parties agree on the payment method during proceedings, they will likely avoid wage withholding or garnishment.  However, if your spouse is behind by a full month’s support, your attorney can petition for a wage garnishment. Additionally, your attorney can file for a judgment of contempt through the courts


Unfortunately, neither option is quick, nor are they free.  There will be upfront costs for your attorney, court fees, and potentially subpoenas and affidavits.  It will take time and attention away from your life. While it is a lengthy process, it is also not uncommon.  Your attorney will be able to explain the process and formulate a plan to protect the best interests of your child. 


If your spouse is falling behind in support and is in contempt of court-ordered child support, do not ignore the problem or engage in petty fighting.  Instead, gather evidence, emails, bank statements, and anything else your attorney may find useful. Then, with your Saint Louis family law attorney, decide if returning to court is in your child’s best interests.  Your trusted Missouri family law attorney can help you and your child get back on track, and back to normal life once again.



The Betz Law Firm

120 E Lockwood Ave
St. Louis
Phone: (314) 801-8488

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