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How to deal with a non-paying parent

Florida parents may wonder about the best way to handle a situation in which the non-custodial parent is either unwilling or unable to pay child support. While it is true that the non-paying parent in some cases may ultimately go to jail, the custodial parent may not benefit from trying to get support money by obtaining the other parent's prison wages. However, there are some strategies that can help make the situation more bearable.

The first recommendation that some experts make is to keep the parent as part of the children's lives. Custodial parents often feel that a non-paying parent should not be allowed to see the children because of the failure to contribute. However, that approach may be counter-productive. A non-custodial parent that sees children regularly and has a relationship with them may be more likely to pay child support once funds become available. In addition, if there is a visitation order, denying access to the children could get the custodial parent in trouble with the courts.

The second step is to create a budget that does not rely upon child support to make ends meet. That way, a parent who does not receive the support may struggle less to meet daily expenses. When support money does come in, it can be saved to pay for necessary expenses that arise later. Another thing that might help is to ask the non-custodial parent to make partial payments toward the total due until the finances improve.

When it comes to the many needs associated with raising a child, receiving child support can be very important for struggling families. If the parent refuses to pay support despite an ability to do so, a local attorney may be able to help seek wage garnishment or press contempt charges.

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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