Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “Who pays for the children’s health insurance and co-pays?”
Adjusting to life with children after divorce can be difficult. Suddenly, after having spent the past years or months with a spouse sharing the responsibilities of parenthood, you are suddenly left caring for your children alone. One of the biggest changes after divorce is the family’s finances. Instead of the income of two parents supporting one household, there is now only one income. In North Carolina, child support payments are often ordered in divorce and child custody agreements to ensure that the children have the resources to be cared for, regardless of the marital status of the parents. While child support is an option, sometimes it is difficult to collect the child support owed. There are different ways that child support orders can be enforced.
Child support can be settled both in and out of court. Parents can choose to come to an agreement on their own, documented in their separation agreement. If parents can not come to an amicable decision, or an agreed upon decision on their own, then the court can step in. Child support payments are calculated based on the income of the parent making the payment and the needs of the child.
The North Carolina Child Support Services (CSS) offers their services for parents who need help enforcing the child support order. If child support is not paid, CSS can enforce the payment by having the money automatically deducted from the paying parent’s paycheck. In the event that the parent does not receive a paycheck, CSS can instead have the amount owed withheld from unemployment checks, workers’ compensation benefits, Social Security benefits, or other forms of income.
Consequences of Not Paying Child Support
The party that suffers the most from the lack of child support payments is the child. Not making a child support payment can do more than make a parent feel guilty for not paying; there are legal consequences for this behavior. Not making court-ordered child support payments can result in the parent being held in contempt of court. Contempt means that the parent has violated the child support order. The more behind in child support payments a parent is, the more likely that he or she will be held in contempt.
In addition to being responsible for the late child support owed, the parent could also face:
- Having wages garnished
- Having a lien placed on a business or home to make up for the child support owed
- Losing real property, like a home or car, to make the payments
- Losing a driver’s license or passport
- Criminal prosecution
- Additional fines
- Jail time
If you need help collecting the child support that is owed to you, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are here to help you. We know that transitioning after a divorce can be difficult, especially if one parent does not contribute what he or she owes. Our attorneys want to help you get what is owed to help you move forward in this new chapter of your life. Contact us today for a consultation. If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter and need the help of experienced family-law attorneys in or around Charlotte, Lake Norman, or our new office in Monroe (by appointment only until 2019), please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.
The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two 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.
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