As a Colorado Springs family lawyer, I always advise my clients to make sure their child support is court-ordered, not just an informal agreement between mom and dad. The reason for this is two-fold. First of all, even the most amicable of divorce situations will change over the years, and you can never predict how this might affect a parent’s willingness to pay support. Secondly, if the non-custodial parent is not paying child support and you do not have a court order, then the support cannot be garnished from their wages, accrued as “arrears”, or otherwise withheld from that parent’s assets.
If you do have a court order, then the penalties for non-payment of child support can be severe; up to and including incarceration for Contempt of Court. Enforcement actions may include wage garnishment, driver’s license suspension, negative credit reporting, court-ordered lump sum payments, and the inability to obtain a passport. Courts may also seize bank accounts and other assets owned by the non-paying parent. Keep in mind, however, if you live in a densely populated area the number of enforcement agents may be too scarce to carry out these threats.
The best way to ensure quick and decisive action against a parent who is willfully not paying child support is to have your attorney file a Complaint for Contempt of Court. If you don’t currently work with a Colorado divorce lawyer, contact the Marrison Family Law LLC in Colorado Springs for a free consultation about child support and other post-decree issues.