How Can I Enforce a Child Support Order?

8-2How Can I Enforce a Child Support Order?

When you went through a divorce, you were probably quite happy when the process was over and the judge provided an order. Now you and your family can get on with your lives and can begin a new chapter. Things are going along nicely until you stop getting child support payments, or maybe the payments are less than they are supposed to be. At first, your ex simply says he will catch up later, but soon you start to realize that the payments are falling far behind. What can you do to enforce a child support order? A knowledgeable family law attorney can help you through this difficult time.


Understanding Child Support

It is important to understand child support so you can make good decisions about it going forward. Child support is money that is intended for the costs of raising a child. Both parents are expected to contribute to a child’s needs. Generally, the court orders a non-custodial parent to pay the custodial parent money to help with the costs of food, shelter, clothing, health care, and more. When a parent fails to pay required child support, they are directly impacting the quality of life of their child. A child’s needs do not change just because a parent cannot make payments.


Do Not Wait to Take Action

It can be hard to listen to the woes of your former spouse without feeling compassion. When your ex begs you to accept that they will make up lost payments, it can be hard not to allow it. However, you need to keep in mind that you have to represent the needs of your child. Child support payments are for their benefit, and you cannot waive their rights. If a parent is not fulfilling their legal obligation to pay child support, you need to take action quickly. The longer you wait, the further behind the payments will be, and the harder it will be to resolve the matter.


Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “How is the amount of child support decided in North Carolina?”


Legal Enforcement of Child Support Orders

The law provides various methods to enforce a child support order. When a parent fails in their support obligation, they are defying a court order. Therefore, the court can take action against a person who does not comply. Some of the possible punishments that can happen include:

  • Wage Garnishment
  • Fines
  • Loss of Driving Privileges
  • Loss of Passport


Fines can build up when a parent misses a child support payment. The result may be that the child support is so far in arrears that the parent will not be able to catch up. Wage garnishment is an action that the court can take to resolve child support problems. Child support payments will be taken directly out of the parent’s pay before they receive a paycheck. In some extreme cases, the parent could lose other privileges.


Seek Legal Guidance

If a parent is not paying support or begins to get behind, do not take matters into your own hands. The only way a parent can modify child support is by going to court. It is best to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible when payments are missed. Your attorney will help you with the process of legally enforcing a child support order. To learn more about child support enforcement, contact our lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 for a consultation today. We take cases in North and South Carolina.






The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes four Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.



Garnishments in North Carolina | NC DOL

child support | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (


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