Child support recovery can often be a lengthy process involving a number of critical components, including record keeping and legal filings. In most cases, it is possible to get the money that is owed, unless the income of the other parent has been severely diminished, or he or she happens to be out of work. Legal jurisdictions often have a specific process to follow in order to help parents recover back child support.
First, if you have contact with the other parent, alert them that there is a problem. In some cases, the situation can be corrected between the two parties. If the parent owing the money is not willing to cooperate, or disputes the fact that there is a problem, it may be best to bring in a third party to work on child support recovery.
Many jurisdictions, especially in the United States, have child support recovery offices. If you inform them of the problem, they should work with you to bring the issue to some type of resolution. This is often the preferred way to handle the problem, as it typically can be done without much expense from the parent trying to collect the money. At the same time, the child support recovery office must verify the information regarding the amount of support, and failure to pay, as best as it can before collection efforts begin.
If the child support recovery office cannot help, or is not acting in a manner satisfactory to the claimant, the most common solution is to contact a private attorney. Although this can be an expensive step, it should not take too long before a parent receives all of that money back in the way of child support payments if the case is successful. If the court finds that there was a deliberate attempt not to pay or work together, a judge may even order the other party to pay all legal expenses.
Before going to court, remember that it is up to the filing party to prove that a wrong has been committed. Gather records, including the original court order of support, and keep track of payments meticulously. If the parent to be paid has not kept a record of child support payments, it becomes even more necessary to keep a record of missed payments. Also, the filing parent is within his or her rights to ask for financial information from the other parent through court proceedings, or the court may ask on its own.
Never should one parent take the law into his or her own hands by denying the other parent privileges granted by the court because of missed support payments. For example, parents may be tempted to disallow visitation with the child because support payments are overdue. This can lead to contempt of court charges, and possibly get both parents in trouble with the court. Only a judge has the authority to mandate such an action.