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Collecting Your Past Due Child Support: What Your Attorney Won’t Tell You

April 25, 2015

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Since I started this blog, I have been bombarded with emails and comments about how to collect unpaid child support. This article will tell you everything your attorney will not tell you, either because they are greedy or because they simply don’t know. You’re saying, “Isn’t that what I am paying them for?”

Humph… You’re paying them to drag it out in court for as long as they can so they can collect money from you until they drop your case when you can’t pay THEM — because YOU ARE NOT GETTING YOUR CHILD SUPPORT — and you and your kids are starving and being evicted from your home. I’m not exaggerating here.

In 2010, the Deadbeat Dad in my life owed my over $145,000 in unpaid child support, alimony and medical costs. Going into May 2015, he still owes me over $7,000. I’m not finished with him yet. The arrears date back to 1997. That is 21 years in collecting, but you have to admit, my progress is substantial and I can see the end of the rainbow. Still, the interest on the unpaid principle continues to accrue at the rate of 10% simple interest.

Since I started this blog, I have helped desperate mothers to collect nearly $750,000 (yes — that is seven-hundred fifty thousand dollars) in child support. I have NEVER charged a penny for my assistance, and I have made friends from all over the United States (and a few in other countries). As you might guess, crooked attorneys do not like me very much; but I have referred moms to the good ones, and they like me just fine.

Since this isn’t a popularity contest for me, I don’t mind one bit telling you…

Things Your Attorney Will Not Tell You

  1. The Court will give your Deadbeat Dad all the time in the world and every chance in the world to pay. As long as the Deadbeat is “paying” a minimum “good effort payment,” they will not cite him for Contempt.
  2. If the Court DOES cite him for Contempt, he has 90 days to pay as little as a few hundred dollars by a set date to stay out of jail.
  3. A Court Order is enforceable by law.
    • The Judge will NOT enforce his own order.
    • You need to go before a Magistrate (or Constable, depending on your jurisdiction) to enforce the Order. You can find out where to locate the Magistrate either at the courthouse or at your local law enforcement agency.
    • You can draft your Complaint and attach it to the form(s) before presenting it to him/her. They might make you fill out the form anyway, so if you aren’t sure how much time it will take you, I would suggest that you drop by and pick up the form and fill it out before you go before the Magistrate.
    • Some will set an appointment time with you, other places will hear you the same day.
    • It is an informal hearing, but just the same, dress appropriately (casual business wear is okay, but stay away from revealing clothing. If you are in a summer dress, for example, make sure it’s not too short, and cover your bare arms with a sweater or jacket).
    • Stay calm and collected. If you are before a Magistrate, that person will already presume and understand that you are upset. You can’t hold back tears, but you must refrain from raising your voice, using foul or derogatory language, and/or acting like a lunatic. I know, it’s not easy. Just take a lot of deep breaths, and do yourself (and your kids) a favor and remain sane.
    • Speaking of kids, don’t bring them before the Magistrate. They don’t have babysitters there. If it is IMPOSSIBLE to arrange for a caretaker, then do what you must.
  4. Failure to Pay Child Support is a form of child abandonment, which is a CRIME. You can locate the specific law for your jurisdiction online (or you can write to me and I will help you out on this).
  5. The Magistrate, if in agreement with your Complaint, will issue a Warrant of Arrest to either the Sheriff or the local law enforcement (depending on your jurisdiction). Arrest is imminent. While the Deadbeat Dad might get out on bail, he might enjoy a night (or two) in jail mulling over his situation before he is seen by the Magistrate and released on his own recognizance. If he doesn’t make bail, he wallows in his own misery until his Hearing.
  6. Once again before the Judge, he is more apt to arrange a payment schedule to get his arrears current by a set date.
  7. At the hearing, you have the right and opportunity to be heard by the Court (even if your case is with Child Support Enforcement). Tell the Court how poor you and your children are, how hard you are working to keep your car, your home and your children fed and provided with adequate medical care. Don’t hold back any of the facts, and while it is certainly okay to cry, DO NOT yell or act like a crazy woman. The Court doesn’t like that.
  8. Some judges have to pay — or in the past had to pay — child support… and they do not like it… They always give the Deadbeat Dad a thousand and one opportunities to pay — while you and your children live in poverty. Even female judges are callous when it comes to ignoring the needs of the custodial parent and her starving children.
  9. Once before the Court, you can ask for jail time — especially if you have been before the Court repeatedly on Contempt hearings. Tell them the dates of each of these hearings and what the judge ordered at that time. Don’t think they will remember your case; their caseload is insane and all they want to do is get through the day.
  10. In line with asking for jail time, you might suggest that the Deadbeat Dad be put either on Work Release or Home Detention. You should also request that the Court orders the Deadbeat Dad to be put on actual Probation where he has to appear in person to have a drug and alcohol test each time, to maintain employment, and to appear before the Court in 90 days.
  11. Get your child support, alimony, and medical costs REDUCED TO a Child Support Money Judgment NOW! Request a hearing before the court and request that the arrears be reduced to Judgment. You will have to write a Request for Hearing — Set Child Support Arrears to Judgement. Some courts will provide forms for you to fill out. It usually takes between 30 and 90 days to be granted your hearing date. Once you have been heard and the Court reduces the money the Deadbeat Dad owes in arrears, the Clerk will enter the Judgment. However, take the written judgment (they will send a copy in the mail or you can ask them for a copy at the courthouse a week or so after your hearing) to the Civil Court Clerk and for $15, she will enter the judgment into your civil case as well as in District Court. Your judgment begins to collect simple interest at the rate of between 10% and 12% depending on your state and jurisdiction. This does NOT stop the child support order.
  12. The judgment automatically constitutes a money lien against all assets and property (if any) that belongs to the noncustodial parent. You can have them transferred (for $15) to any jurisdiction (state and/or county) where that person lives and/or works (or might hold assets).


If you get a case in court on your own, Child Support Enforcement might drop your case. Don’t worry! They aren’t doing crap for you at this point anyway or we wouldn’t be having this discussion! Once you have your arrears set to a money judgment, you can pay the $25 to CSEA and have your case reinstated. They can then begin to attempt collection efforts once again. Remember that the $25 costs to collect your money judgment are collectable against the noncustodial parent — and so is the $15 fee that you pay to the clerk to Enter your Money Judgment (and any other court costs, as well). For all the stuff you CANNOT do on your own — and that your attorney cannot do, either — see what only CSEA has the administrative authority to do here.

What is this doesn’t work?

If you still have an attorney and you have paid him to collect child support — and he drops your case because you can’t pay him any more — REPORT HIM TO YOUR STATE BAR ASSOCIATION. This is called an Attorney Grievance case. And by the way, if you don’t pay your attorney, he will take you to court and get a Money Judgment against you. He will clean out your bank account if you’re not careful. Be aware that nobody can lien child support, medical insurance judgments, or alimony (in full), not even your attorney.

If the judge who handles your case fails to enforce his own Court Order, REPORT HIM TO THE JUDICIAL DISABILITY COMMITTEE.

Let’s face it: The Courts don’t enforce their own orders, Attorneys don’t give a shit, and you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. You’re not asking for a miracle: You are demanding that the Deadbeat Dad in your life takes responsibility for his children.

I just want to remind you that men don’t like being ratted on by their ex, even if they are in the wrong. If you fear for your safety because of retaliation, you might as well get a Protective Order while you’re at it. Remember that it’s only a piece of paper and it won’t be very effective if he is serious about harming you (and/or your children). But, it will document your fears, especially if the Deadbeat Dad in your life is a domestic violence felon like in my case. And keep your kids close, too, because if he doesn’t want to go to jail or pay you child support, he might decide to snatch those children away from you.

All that having been said, I still say, “Go get that child support, Woman!”

Good luck, and if you need any help or have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I answer ALL email inquiries — and my service is FREE!

For other Articles in The Just Call Me Charley Blog that might be of interest to you, go here, and here, and here!

Please know that all emails are confidential and that your case will never be discussed in this forum. Your welfare and safety is my paramount concern.

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