As a follow up to Important Information about Enforcing Child Support (Part 1), below is some additional information about what parents can do when one parent has failed to pay court-ordered child support.
- If a non-paying parent is behind on child support, the court will view that parent as “being in arrears,” and (s)he will be responsible for paying up on all back-owed child support. While the non-paying parent may be able to get future child support payments reduced (if, for example, (s)he has lost his/her job), back payments cannot be reduced, and the non-paying parent will still be held responsible for paying the full amount of these.
- If a non-paying parent in arrears files for bankruptcy, that parent can NOT have the owed child support payments discharged; in other words, the non-paying parent will be held responsible for paying all back-owed child support payments whether or not (s)he files for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is intended to discharge other debts, such as credit card debts, medical bills, car loans, etc.; it cannot discharge court-ordered payments, such as child support.
- If a divorce has already been settled and the settlement did not include child support, a parent can file for child support at any time. However, that parent will NOT be entitled to collect child support for any time that has lapsed since the divorce. Because of this, most divorce attorneys strongly recommend filing for child support the time that a couple is filing for divorce.
Given how complicated the enforcement of child support can be, as well as the fact that single parents often don’t have the time (or may not have the knowledge regarding how) to fully pursue a non-paying parent for child support, it’s essential that they work with the Colorado family law attorneys at the Law Office of Mike Hulen. For years, we have been successful at helping our Clients hold non-paying parents accountable in order to secure the child support they need. If you are owed child support, contact us at (303) 932-8666 to learn more about your rights and receive professional advice regarding the best manner in which to proceed with your case.