Child Support in Mississippi: What If An Ex-Spouse or Non-Custodial Parent Stops Paying? What if the Non-Custodial Parent Can’t Meet His/Her Child Support Obligation?
The State of Mississippi, like jurisdictions across the country, is keenly interested in whether or not ex-spouses or partners are paying their child support as ordered by the courts. After all, “the best interests of the child” are always paramount in the minds of attorneys and judges across the state. So what should someone do if their ex-spouse has stopped paying child support? What if you, or someone you know, is falling behind in child support payments?
Like many things in life, the key to maintaining payment of child support is diligence. Although it may be tempting to ignore a missed payment here and there, doing so risks setting a precedent where the non-custodial parent feels entitled to pay only when he or she wants to. If you’re the one being “let off the hook,” well, you’re probably wrong about that. Unless modified by the courts, child support payments are due as stated in the Order to the custodial parent until the child is emancipated. Generally, this means the obligated non-custodial parent cannot unilaterally modify the court Order to pay child support.
Moreover, the custodial parent cannot unilaterally modify the court Order to accommodate the obligated parent. The obligated parent must abide by the Order until it is modified by the court, or the terms stated in the Order are met. Such terms are usually stated as child support is due until the child has reached 21 years old, or has otherwise become emancipated under the laws of this state from the care of the custodial parent.
Ultimately, deciding whether or not child support payments are due is a matter for the court, and never something to sort out on one’s own. Still, many non-custodial parents refuse to pay child support or fall seriously behind on payments. What happens then?
As with all legal matters, it depends on the facts of your case and situation. That’s why it’s best to hire an attorney. But, the potential consequences of not paying are certainly serious. Let’s take a look at just a few:
- Income withholding
- Loss of unemployment benefits
- Interception of federal or state tax refunds
- Bank accounts frozen
- Driver’s license suspension
- Passport revocation
- Jail time – That’s right. It is not uncommon for non-paying parents to find themselves behind bars.
So what is the best plan of action if you aren’t receiving child support payments on time or falling behind on your payments? Contact me, Vangela M. Wade, an experienced Family Law attorney.
There are many enforcement measures available through the courts and other official channels. These will help make sure that you are paid the child support due to you in order to take care of your child or children. For those falling behind on payments, there are also ways to modify the amount of child support required when circumstances change. Regardless of which side you fall on, entrusting your case to a trusted, experienced lawyer will help ensure that you and your child’s needs are met.
If you have questions about child support in Mississippi or a personal legal matter, get in touch with Vangela M. Wade, at The Wade Law Firm, PLLC to arrange an affordable consultation with an experienced Family Law attorney.