Legally Speaking — Child Support

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JOPLIN, MO. — Child support is frequently one of the most contentious areas in a divorce proceeding. If you are not receiving it – or if you cannot pay it, there are options.

Attorney Aaron Sachs discusses non-payment of child support in this week’s Legally Speaking.

Father’s Day is June 21st this year, and this week’s topic is non-payment of child support. How widespread of a problem is this?

Attorney Aaron Sachs, said, “Recent statistic from the US Census Bureau indicate that only 62% of court-awarded child support payments are ever paid. In other words, 38% of child support is not paid.”

If support payments are not being made, should the custodial parent withhold visitation as a means to force the other parent to pay up?

“The standard for visitation is “What is the child’s best interest?” Legally, visitation cannot be denied because a parent is behind in child support payments. In fact, since visitation is often a part of a divorce settlement, withholding it may be considered interfering with custody.”

Many people have lost their jobs and cannot find work. What about cases where the parent cannot pay because they simply have no income?

“Only the court can adjust child support orders, so if your circumstances have changed, you may want to go back to court. Keeping the lines of communication open between both parents is always the best approach. However, parents cannot legally change a child support order by themselves without the court’s permission.”

What’s the bottom line on non-payment of child support?

“Don’t give up on getting the support you need for your child – it’s too important to the well being of your child.”

Legally Speaking was sponsored by Aaron Sachs and Associates.

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