Many divorced couples handle child support as determined by the courts during the divorce. In fact, over $990 billion dollars in child support changes hands each year. But the fact remains that many parents still struggle to collect child support from their exes. Here are some of the most common reasons that ex-spouses won’t pay child support.
The non-custodial parent’s financial situation changed. We all know that life can be unpredictable. Sometimes circumstances in your ex’s life change to the point where he/she can no longer afford to pay the child support that was court ordered. These circumstances could include changes in income, losing a job, incurring lots of medical expenses, among other things. When financial circumstances change, it’s important to have the child support payment modified through the courts to reflect a lower payment that your ex can actually afford. Verbal agreements to reduce child support during times of financial duress can often lead to bigger problems down the road.
“A lot of parents feel if you’re not going to pay, you’re not going to be involved in their life, but it works against you. By keeping them involved in your children’s day-to-day activities and the things going on, that helps them stay invested in your children, and if they can’t pay you today, at least they’re more likely, when they can afford it, to pay.” Sheri Atwood
The non-custodial parent disagrees with how the money is being spent. There are times when divorced parents disagree on how much money should be spent on certain things. The non-custodial parent may think it’s acceptable to purchase $150 shoes for the kids for back to school, which the parent paying the child support thinks $25 shoes will suffice. These disagreements often happen concerning the “extra” support payments for additional expenses. The best way to solve disagreements of this nature is to discuss them ahead of time. SupportPay has a great tool for communicating online as well as documenting these expenses with proof to help stop these disagreements before they start.
I know one customer who spent more than $12,000 in attorney fees, fighting with an ex about who would pay for a $100 pair of glasses for their child. Don’t run to your lawyer. Talk things out, and pick your battles. Sheri Atwood
The non-custodial parent is angry and upset about the situation. Sometimes your ex is just upset about the circumstances… Maybe you filed for divorce and your ex doesn’t feel like he/she should have to pay child support since you wanted to get divorced. Or maybe there is still anger and hurt carrying over from the ended relationship. Or maybe he/she just doesn’t feel like you need the child support money to help with the expenses of raising your children. Counseling can help with this, as well as taking your ex back to court to enforce the payments.