What Happens if a Parent Falls Behind in Child Support Payments?

In a divorce or paternity case, the noncustodial parent typically pays the custodial parent child support in order to maintain the standard of living and cover the daily expenses of their children. However, sometimes circumstances change and the parent paying support is no longer able or willing to make child support payments. For the parent and child needing this support, this can cause significant financial strain. At the Johnson Law Firm, our dedicated family law attorneys are here to help you explore your legal options for child support in Missouri. To learn more, call or contact our office today.

Modification of Child Support in Missouri

If an unexpected illness, injury, or loss of a job has resulted in a parent’s inability to pay child support, they may request a modification to the child support order. This requires a substantial change in circumstances that are permanent, material, significant, and unanticipated at the time of the original support order. Modifications can be temporary or permanent depending on the situation. This option is applicable only when a parent is willing, but unable, to make their support payments.

Contempt of Court

If a parent is able, but unwilling, to make their child support payments another option is a contempt of court hearing. The parent in need of support petitions the court to make the parent who owes support answer for their nonpayment. If the court finds that the parent paying is willfully refusing to make their payments, they will be held in contempt of court. This can include both daily accruing fines and jail time until the child support in arrears is paid.

Wage Garnishment

Another option for collecting child support in arrears is through the use of a wage garnishment, or income withholding, order. This court order requires the employer of the parent in arrears will withhold a portion of each paycheck, typically around 10%, and send it directly to the parent in need of support. This order can apply to many types of income, including salaries, wages, bonuses, commissions, workers’ compensation benefits, Social Security benefits, and more.

Liens and Sales

One last option is to use liens and sheriff’s sales to make up the child support in arrears. Liens can be placed on real estate and on personal property that must be paid off before the seller can collect any profit on the sale and can last for up to 20 years on a single item or property. With a sheriff’s sale, the parent in arrears is allowed to keep some property, like the primary home and vehicle, but other real estate and personal property is sold in an auction in order to make up the child support owed to the other parent. To learn more about your options, talk to us today.

Talk to Our Office Now Regarding Child Support in Missouri

Do you find yourself in a situation where child support in Missouri has fallen into arrears? If so, the experienced family law attorneys at the Johnson Law Firm are here to help. Call the office or contact us today to schedule an evaluation of your case to learn more.