Child Support Block With Gavel

What Can I Do if My Ex Isn’t Paying Their Child Support?

The Berger Firm Nov. 20, 2023

Divorces can present complex challenges on different fronts, depending on factors such as the length of the union, the assets and debts accrued while together, and whether there are any children involved. If there are children, then custody and child support come to the forefront and can prove to be quite contentious. 

Sometimes spouses can agree upon a settlement that addresses all relevant issues that can then be presented to the court for approval. Not everyone can work out an “uncontested” divorce, however. Emotions, grudges, and grievances often stand in the way of mutual cooperation. If the case goes before a judge, then it is considered to be “contested,” and the judge will have the final say. 

Let’s assume a divorce is finalized and a court order issued. Spouse A gets primary custody of the children, and Spouse B is required to provide child support to help Spouse A care for the children, their education, their health, and their well-being. But down the road, Spouse B tires of making the monthly payment and either sends less or nothing at all. What can Spouse A do? 

If you as the recipient of child support payments for your custodial children suddenly see a decrease or stoppage in those payments, you should contact us at The Berger Firm if you’re located in or around Covington, Kentucky. We will help you pursue all your legal options to recover what’s owed to you and get the payments resumed.  

We also proudly serve clients in the Greater Cincinnati Area and throughout Northern Kentucky, including Newport and Florence. 

How Is Child Support Determined in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, child support is based on the best interests of the child, or children, which obviously includes their health and well-being, as well as their educational and social opportunities and advancement. As for child support itself, since 1990, the Commonwealth has used a formula based on the gross income of each parent to support the children. The formula may vary a bit if one parent gets sole custody or if there is a joint custody order or arrangement. 

Whatever the outcome of the custodial and child support order or settlement in an uncontested divorce leading to a court order, the parent who is making the payment is obligated to do so. There are legal means to force a non-paying or under-paying parent to make up the arrearage and resume full payments, starting with filing a motion of contempt. 

Motion of Contempt to Collect Child Support

Working with an experienced family law attorney, you can file a motion of contempt in court against the parent who is underpaying or not paying. The filing can result in various actions by the court, including not only ordering full arrearage and resumption of child support, but also ordering the payment of attorney’s fees and other costs involved in the filing or due to the loss of child support. 

Court Interventions for Non-Payment

Other actions that can be ordered include: 

  • PLACING A LIEN ON PROPERTY: The court can place a lien on the person’s property, which makes it impossible to sell or transfer high-value property such as real estate, land, and vehicles until child support is made good. 

  • WAGE WITHHOLDING ORDERS: The court can work with your ex’s employer to have wages withheld to cover what’s owed. They can also take bonuses and commission checks to cover what’s due. There are, however, legal limits to the percentages they can withhold. 

  • INTERCEPTING FUNDS: The state can also take funds directly from your ex’s checking or savings account and even intercept funds from Social Security payments, lottery winnings, income tax returns, or even workers’ compensation benefits. 

  • LIMITING WORK AND TRAVEL: The delinquent parent’s driver’s license, personal or commercial, can be suspended, as well as any professional and sporting licenses. If more than $2,500 is owed, obtaining a passport can be denied. 

  • CRIMINAL CHARGES: It’s even possible for a contempt motion to lead to criminal charges, a filing of contempt, and possible jail time. 

Get the Help You Need Today

If your ex is reneging on his or her responsibility for child support, reach out to us at The Berger Firm immediately. We will help you pursue the best legal options for correcting the situation and bringing past-due and current child support obligations.  

We serve clients in and around Covington, in the Greater Cincinnati Area, and throughout Northern Kentucky. Our team of family law attorneys has the experience and knowledge to help you overcome any hurdles you face.