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What happens if child support payments stop showing up?

When couples are preparing to split up, examining finances may become very important. This is especially true for couples who have children together. Without the benefit of sharing income -- or having a two-income household -- covering the costs of raising kids can become a challenge. This is where child support payments can be very helpful for the parent who has primary custody.

Regardless of whether or not a child's parents are married when they split up, one parent may be required to pay support to the other parent. These monthly payments are typically mandated by a court order, so failure to pay can result in legal consequences for the paying parent.

More than that, missed child support payments can also wind up creating difficulty for the parents and children who rely on them. Oftentimes, custodial parents include child support payments in their monthly budget. This is why various tactics are used by law enforcement officials to help parents receive the support they count on.

In some cases, however, it might be difficult to get the paying parent to cooperate. At this point, custodial parents may have a couple options to receive payments to care for their children.

One family law observer suggests that allowing a parent to be more involved in the lives of their children might encourage him or her to be more faithful about keeping up on support payments. While this may be something to mull over, it's also important to consider the best interests of the children. In some cases, there might be a specific reason why one parent doesn't have custody or visitation time.

On the other hand, parents may consider a court-ordered modification if they cannot keep up with child support payments. The reality is that a parent's financial circumstances can change. By ensuring that support payments are fair to the benefitting children and kept at a manageable level, the paying parent can maintain his or her responsibility and the custodial parent will have access to resources.

Certainly, child support issues can be complex and emotional in nature. As such, it may be best to consult with a family law professional when parents are having difficulty with their child support arrangement.

Source: Daily Finance, "What to Do When Your Ex Won't (or Can't) Pay Child Support," Geoff Williams, Nov. 21, 2013

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