Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Explains if Your Ex Spouse Won’t Pay Child Support Obligations in Mississippi

You depend upon your court ordered child support amount each month to provide for your child’s basic needs.  When that check does not arrive on time, it can have severe negative repercussions for your family and finances.  Sadly, a significant portion of the U.S. population is constantly grappling with the problem of unpaid child support.  An estimated 11.2 million child support cases have arrears due in each year.  For those parents whose former spouses are behind on child support, numerous enforcement options do exist.  The following is a look at the various enforcement methods available for those spouses struggling to obtain the child support they are entitled to.

  1. Civil contempt action—child support is a court ordered obligation, meaning that one who fails to comply with the order can be found in contempt.  Contempt is defined as the willful and obstinate violation of a court order.  Civil contempt proceedings can be initiated in chancery court.  The complaining party must make a prima facie, or initial showing that the court has ordered child support and it has not been met.  The non-custodial or owing party will then have a chance to rebut, generally arguing either support is not due or the party is unable to pay the ordered sum.  The purpose of civil contempt is remedial.  In some instances, the owing parent will be placed in jail, which is intended to coerce compliance.  Each day in the U.S., an estimated 50,000 people are put in prison each day for failing to pay child support.  The Supreme Court recently determined that debtor parents do not have the right to counsel in civil contempt proceedings.  A knowledgeable divorce attorney can assist you in filing your contempt action, and the contempt process is a powerful tool for obtaining the child support you are entitled to.
  2. Credit Bureau Reporting—the Mississippi Department of Human Services Division of Child Support Enforcement exists, in part, to enforce child support orders.  The Child Support Program has the ability to report the non custodial parent’s delinquency to the credit bureau.  In that way, your former spouse’s failure to pay child support can have a serious impact on their ability to finance purchases.  This can be a strong motivator for your former spouse to stay on top of child support obligations.
  3. License suspension—the Division of Child Support Enforcement also has the ability to suspend or even revoke your delinquent ex-spouse’s drivers license as well as professional or business licenses.  Stripping your former spouse of his or her ability to drive or engage in business is a powerful tool towards coercing compliance.
  4. Passport revocation—a parent who owes more than $2,500 in child support will have his or her passport revoked or application for a passport denied.  In order to travel again, your former spouse would be required to become current with child support payments.
  5. Court ordered employment—Mississippi courts can actually order the non custodial spouse to get a job so that they can afford to provide child support for their children, thereby eliminating the owing spouse’s excuse that they cannot afford to make payments.

If your former spouse is behind on child support payments, Matthew S. Poole can help.  Matthew is a Mississippi divorce attorney with years of experience in contempt proceedings.  Matthew understands how devastating it can be when your former spouse fails to comply with his or her child support obligation.  He will take all necessary steps to get you the support you deserve.  Call Matthew S. Poole today at (601) 573-7429 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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