Does Criminal Nonpayment of Child Support Orders Help When You’re Owed Child Support?
It is the duty of parents to provide support for their children. When parents are unmarried, divorced, or separated, child support is usually paid to the parent who has primary custody of the child. Child support payments are intended to provide for a child’s needs, from housing to food to clothing, medical expenses, educational needs and even extracurricular activities. It’s not payment made to the custodial parent in exchange for caring for the child.
Pursuing your ex for back child support payments can be a frustrating and difficult task to take on your own. A lot of times, exes will owe tens of thousands of dollars without ever attempting to make a payment even if it’s ordered by the court. If a non-custodial parent were to do this there’s precious few ways to get back what you’re owed through any of the child support enforcement agencies. Namely, wage garnishment is the go-to solution. However, if he works under the table, or has his assets in someone else’s name, the odds of you getting what’s owed goes down dramatically, and 9 times out of 10 all that CSE offers you is issuing a criminal non-payment (or Criminal Contempt) of child support charge on your ex. Here’s why that’s a bad idea, if your goal is (and should always be throughout this process) to get paid.
If you’re struggling to support your child, and your ex is out there running circles around CSE by hiding assets with someone else or otherwise evading child support payments you might be tempted to opt for criminal non support. But how would pulling his passport or issuing a bench warrant get you paid? Sure he’d be facing consequences for his actions, but the amount he owes you continues to grow, adding to the obscene national total of owed back child support in the U.S.
The hard truth is, the CSE system was never created to help Moms to collect – not exactly as advertised. It’s true purpose is to reimburse the state for the financial support they provide to custodial parent’s, like TANF and SNAP programs. Moms being permitted to use the CSE as a child support collection measure was a half-hearted add-on.
Further – and this is the worst of it – the family court system is literally rigged against a Mom trying to collect. Many of our legislators are in bed with the father’s right groups and the Father’s Rights Groups (FRG) line their pockets. Buckle up as you get the low-down on how the system really works.
Attorneys tend to go the criminal non-contempt route. Which is fine if suspending his driver’s license or arresting him and allowing him to make a purge payment would satisfy you but you’re looking to feed and care for your children, right? That said, as frustration and in some cases desperation sets in, we can be led to believe that shelling out thousands of dollars we often don’t have, to go the attorney route, will save us and get us what we are owed and that is simply not the case.
The idea that the child support enforcement system is broken is a very common misconception. But don’t be fooled, it’s a myth. The system is not broken at all – it is working exactly as it is written and intended. At the moment the FRG’s are in charge and they work within the child support system and actually receive government funding to operate within the system. They are lining the pockets of legislators, and AG’s across the country to do their bidding and none of it is in favour of providing for their children.
If you’re interested in learning more, you can read “The Terrifying Rise of the Father’s Rights Groups”. What you read in that article is going on across the country. It’s all public info if you know where to look. The reality is, women who want their money are truly on their own. Of course, CSE will work for some of us but let’s be real – there are millions of us who will never get paid if we depend on those agencies to come through.
Suffice it to say, unless your case is a standard W2 wage garnishment case, the current system is not optimized to help you and they aren’t going to go out of their way to help you either. The onus is on you to see this process through. You have to act on behalf of the best interest of your child, which means finding your ex if he’s evading, and locating assets that in some cases you are not even aware about. It’s a large ask, and many people aren’t prepared to go it alone, but there are tools available that can help you give your child the financial support he/she deserves.