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My ex has filed an enforcement against me for non-payment of child support…what do I do?

Published April 30, 2020 by Shane Kersh

Unfortunately, this is something we are going to see a lot of.Good people-who have never been late in paying court ordered child support-have lost their jobs or been placed on furlough.

Some folks are eligible to receive unemployment, but even that does not go very far when the person has a mortgage, car payments, insurance and utility bills.In this situation one must make a choice…do I pay my child support, or do I pay my house payment?

If you are in this situation, you really need to make sure you handle it promptly and properly.The obligor, or the person entitled to receive the child support can file an enforcement against you, even if you were let go due to the COVID-19 issue.Remember, your inability to pay is only an affirmative defense against a contempt charge, but it does not relieve you of your responsibility to pay.

Now, the reality of this situation, at least as I see it, is no one is going to be jailed on a criminal contempt for non-payment of child support if you were laid off work.In fact, I really do not believe the Courts would even make a finding of criminal contempt if the accused made the proper affirmative defenses and could prove those defenses in court.

Remember, that if a party is asking for criminal contempt in an enforcement action, it must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the oblige was willful in the act of non-payment.

However, the arrears that is accumulated does not simply go away.The obligor is going to be responsible to make up the amount of unpaid child support.Usually, this is done in increments to be added to the original court ordered child support figure.

Certainly, I would suggest that to avoid future issues, the obligor file a modification to lower the amount of child support that is due each month, thereby make the amount paid out to be more manageable.Either way there is going to be cost in both attorney fees and payment of back child support.

If you are served with an enforcement action DO NOT attempt to proceed on your own.These cases are tricky and can cost you in both money and your freedom.Take these issues very seriously and make sure you have someone to represent you that understands the nuances of defending an enforcement.

Published April 30, 2020 by Shane Kersh

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