What Can I Do if My Ex Is Working Under the Table & Not Paying Child Support?

By Bryan Driscoll, J.D.

What Can I Do if My Ex Is Working Under the Table & Not Paying Child Support?

By Bryan Driscoll, J.D.

If your ex is working under the table and not paying child support, you can take them to court. When you have custody of your child, the law requires your ex to provide child support on a monthly basis. This money will go toward your child's expenses, such as schooling, food, and clothing. But if your ex fails to pay the required amount, then it is likely that their wages will be garnished thereafter.

Snuggling mother and son

But if your ex is either working under the table or in an industry where they are paid in cash, it can be difficult for the court to obtain the child support by simply garnishing wages. If this is the case, you can follow these steps to give yourself a good chance of retrieving the child support you are owed.

1. File a motion to enforce the child support order.

The court previously ordered your ex to pay child support. If that isn't happening, you have the right and obligation to file an enforcement motion with the court. You will want to make clear in your motion that your ex is not making the required monthly payments. You should make it known that they are receiving cash payments and under reporting income to avoid paying child support. After it is filed, the court will set a hearing date.

2. Provide evidence your ex is working under the table.

You may not have evidence that your ex is working under the table when you file your motion for enforcement. But when you make this allegation, the court may allow you to subpoena your ex's employer to see how they are being paid and how much they're really making. You can also hire a private investigator who can follow them and determine where they go, where they work, and how they are making their money.

This means the judge can assume your ex's income even if you are unable to provide evidence of it. The judge will determine how much they are capable of earning in a year and will base child support payments on that income. Even if your ex doesn't have a job, the judge can impute income by using many factors, such as education, work history, etc.

3. Ensure that court penalties are paid by your spouse.

If your ex is not paying child support, the court can and will penalize your ex, as courts always look out for the best interests of the child. Courts are capable of taking tough action on your ex for not paying child support. Some examples of this include:

  • Suspending their driver's license
  • Reporting past due child support to credit agencies
  • Placing liens on their property
  • Freezing bank account funds or other types of investment accounts
  • Revoking or prohibiting obtaining other licenses, such as a hunting, boating, or fishing license

No matter the exact reason why your ex isn't paying child support, you have options. You owe it to yourself and your child to take appropriate action.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.

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