VICKIE LYNN COCHRAN attorney at law
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Dealing with delinquent child support

The divorce of parents can be hard on a child, but it can be made even more difficult when the non-custodial parent refuses to pay child support. The most recent statistics from the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement reveal that more than $1 billion in child support payments is owed to parents in Arkansas and around the country who retain primary custody of one or more children following a divorce or separation.

Custodial parents, even those who are re-married, can have tremendous difficulties while raising a child without the benefit of child support that has been ordered by the court. There is unfortunately little recourse for a custodial parent whose ex-partner is no longer making child support payments. A delinquent parent could be sent to jail, but that is not likely to result in payments being made.

It may be advisable for parents to maintain a civil relationship with one another to ensure payments are made. The delinquent parent should remain involved in the children's lives rather than being shut out, as it may encourage future payments when funds are available. Custodial parents should not count on the receipt of support when making budget decisions, but should instead use those payments if and when received on items that the children want or need.

It is important for both parents to remember that visitation and support are entirely separate issues. A custodial parent should not decide to forbid a child to be able to visit with a delinquent parent, nor should a non-custodial parent decide to forego making support payments due to a lack of visitation. A family law attorney may be able to determine whether collection methods such as wage garnishments are available to a parent that is owed support payments.

Source: US News, "What to Do When Your Ex Won't (or Can't) Pay Child Support", Geoff Williams, November 20, 2013

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