Divorce is a trying time for any couple — especially when children are involved. Most divorce proceedings involve some agreement about custody arrangements. Typically, the noncustodial parent will be required to pay child support, as ordered by a court or agreement, to continue supporting their children.
Why Am I Not Receiving My Child Support Payments?
Unfortunately, not all parents pay child support on time. If you are not getting child support payments as required, Delaware law does protect you and has a number of ways to collect overdue payments and enforce child support.
Delaware Child Support Laws
Courts in Delaware will enforce child support orders only if they have been approved by a judge and filed with a court clerk. If you have an informal arrangement or one without this approval, you will want to file for child support with assistance from the Delaware Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) or the help of a family lawyer in Delaware.
A petition will be sent to the other parent and both you and the other parent will appear at a child support hearing where you will either agree on a child support amount or the judge will issue an order with the amount of child support specified. In either case, you will now have child support that is enforceable.
If you have a child support order which is approved by a judge and filed with a court clerk and you are still not receiving your child support check as you should, file a petition for child support arrears so the court can hold the non-paying parent in contempt and order them to pay. To get an order to have the arrears paid, you will need to have a valid child support order and you will need to prove the other parent had the means to pay support but failed to do so.
Parents who do not pay child support as ordered and are found to be in contempt may face a number of penalties, including jail time. The non-paying parent may have income withheld, may have assets garnished, may be pursued by a collection agency, may face suspension of licenses and may face other penalties.
If a parent tries to hide to avoid paying the child support they owe in Delaware, DCSE can use employer directories, tax returns, Delaware DMV data, public records and other documents to trace the non-paying parent.
What Should I Do If I Am Not Receiving Child Support Payments?
Sometimes, parents try to withhold visitation after not receiving child support or try to lash out at the non-paying parent. While it can be very frustrating to see a parent flout their responsibilities to their child, it is important to keep emotions in check. Refusing visitation, especially, can be very damaging because it can cause you to face penalties.
The best option if you are not getting child support payments is to speak to a child support attorney. While Delaware has many options for enforcement of child support, the reality is that these cases can become complex.
Some non-paying parents take non-traditional jobs or under-report income so their earnings cannot be tracked or garnished when they do not make child support payments. Others become effective at disappearing from public records and are hard to trace so enforcement action cannot take place.
Taking someone to court for not paying child support is also stressful and can be challenging — especially if you are not sure how to prove the non-paying parent has the means and income to pay what they should. An experienced family law attorney will be familiar with all these challenges and will have successfully navigated them in the past. He or she can gather the evidence you need and can help you track down the non-custodial parent.
If you need to speak to an attorney in Delaware who specializes in family law and cases involving child support appears, contact Doroshow, Pasquale, Krawitz, and Bhaya for a consultation. Our legal team has handled thousands of these and other cases.