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Difficulties can arise in collecting child support

Noncustodial parents in Louisiana ordered to make support payments to take care of their children may, in some instances, have difficulty making the payments for a wide variety of reasons. In other instances, a parent may simply refuse to comply and pay. In some instances, past due child support may compound into thousands of dollars.

A federal agency estimated in 2009 that approximately $10 billion in overdue child support was owed nationwide to custodial parents. Some say that keeping a noncustodial parent involved in his or her children's lives can encourage them to pay.

If a noncustodial parent is working or has discernible assets, it is possible to go to court to get an order garnishing wages or bank accounts. In some instances, a parent who willfully ignores court orders mandating the payment of child support can be held in contempt of court and sanctioned - or even jailed.

A parent who is suddenly unable to pay some or all of their current child support may want to go to court with their lawyer to seek a modification order. Reasons for this may include loss of a job, serious injury or illness, or other circumstances that may be beyond their control. The worst thing that a person in such circumstances can do is to do nothing while failing to explain the matter to their ex-spouse or the court. Without an explanation, the ex-spouse may understandably assume that the failure to pay is willful and without reason.

If a parent is temporarily unable to pay the entire amount of child support that is due, it is clearly better to make at least a partial payment, both to demonstrate a good faith effort and to provide support that the children badly need.

Source: U.S. News, "What to Do When Your Ex Won't (or Can't) Pay Child Support" Geoff Williams, Nov. 20, 2013

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