How Can Ex-Spouses Enforce Child Support Orders in Utah?

How Can Ex-Spouses Enforce Child Support Orders in Utah?

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What Should I Do If My Ex Stops Paying Child Support in Utah?

Child custody and support are pertinent issues a family court must grant orders for during a divorce. Unfortunately, some parents defy the orders and stop paying child support, sometimes on valid grounds and other times for reasons the court would not approve.

If your ex-spouse withholds child support payments, you may think that the way to force them to keep up with their obligations is to deny them their visitation rights. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and doing so could put you at risk of legal consequences. Instead, consult experienced South Jordan family law attorneys for legal counsel.

What Happens If I Deny Visitation Rights to My Ex for Non-Payment of Child Support?

It is against the law to withhold visitation rights or parenting time as retaliation because your child’s other parent has refused to pay child support or for any other reason. Since child support and custody are court-ordered, the best approach to dealing with violations of the order is to use a legal approach to the issue.

Child custody and support lawyers in Utah warn against violating custody and support orders simply because your ex is doing a similar thing. Your ex-spouse could file a petition to have you charged with contempt of court. The charge is serious and risks a fine of $1,000 and up to 30 days in jail.

Contempt of court isn’t the only negative consequence of violating court-order child custody and support. Utah Code § 30-3-5(7) allows a judge to award court-related costs, including attorney fees, to the prevailing party because the offending party failed to exercise court-ordered parenting time or visitation schedule.

What is the Legal Way to Deal with an Ex Who Won’t Pay Child Support?

Utah laws provide a legal framework for divorced parents to deal with ex-partners who violate court orders. The process is known as enforcement of child support orders and entails filing a motion to enforce the order. The enforcement order can include a judgment for the total child support payments owed.

When filing this motion in court, it’s best to work with Utah child custody and support lawyers so that they can explain all your rights and responsibilities. Pursuing the case from the point of legal knowledge gives you a better footing to fight for your rights and to protect your child’s best interests.

During the court hearing, your lawyers will help prepare and file all the legal paperwork, keep track of crucial deadlines, and advocate for your child’s rights. Since your child’s financial support is at stake, it’s critical to have a knowledgeable and passionate attorney willing to fight for the most favorable outcome.

Motion for an Order to Show Cause

Your lawyers will file this motion and accompany it with a supporting statement of facts showing how your ex disobeyed the child support order. For example, the supporting statement might list the missed payments and the dates the payments were due. Depending on your case specifics, your child support lawyers can assess what other evidence you should include in the statement.

The court will review the Motion and attached documents to evaluate if you have a valid claim. It will require your ex-spouse to appear in court in a show cause hearing to explain why they should not be charged with contempt of court. If found in contempt, the penalties for content of court will be imposed.

If found not in contempt, your ex can still be ordered to comply with the child support payments, known as judgment. Once entered, collecting the payments is up to you if your ex-spouse doesn’t voluntarily submit them. Your child support lawyers can advise on the debt collection methods to use, such as

  • Attaching the judgment lien to your ex’s property
  • Wage garnishment or intercepting tax refunds, workers’ compensation benefits, or unemployment benefits
  • Seizing money from their bank accounts
  • Collaborating with other states if your ex moves to another state
  • Reporting past-due support to credit bureaus

What If My Ex Can No Longer Make Child Support Payments?

During the hearing, your ex-spouse may argue they are no longer able to make child support payments due to changes in circumstances such as:

  • Loss of income or changes in employment potential and ability to earn
  • Increased legal responsibility to support other family members, such as additional children from a current marriage
  • A change in their relative wealth or assets.

If the circumstances have changed enough that they have resulted in a 15% difference between the current support obligation and what the guidelines would require, the judge can modify the child support order as long as the difference isn’t temporary. Your child custody and support attorneys in South Jordan can provide more insights based on Utah Code § 78B-12-210(9) (2023).

Enforcing Child Support Orders with the Support of a Child Support Lawyer

Divorce can be difficult, especially if minor children are involved. It can get complex if the non-custodial parent refuses to remit child support payments. Avoid the temptation to withhold visitation rights in retaliation and instead seek to legally enforce the child custody order. South Jordan family lawyers can provide legal support.

The RCG Law Group hosts dedicated child custody attorneys in Utah. We are passionate about guiding clients through divorce heartbreak to a better, brighter future. Whatever legal challenge you’re facing after your divorce in Utah, let us be your pillar of legal support as you focus on rebuilding your life. Call us at 385-503-3663 to schedule a FREE consultation.

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