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What To Do When The Money Stops

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There’s an old saying that goes, “before the money’s earned, it’s already spent.” It holds true in any age. You look forward to payday and having extra cash to enjoy a movie or a nice meal out, then you remember all the bills coming due.

If you’re divorced with custody of one or more children, you’ve probably earmarked every incoming cent for new clothes, music lessons, and field trips in addition to the daily essentials. A single parent relies on alimony and/or child support to meet basic needs and ensure the family’s comfort. A delayed check from the ex can cause some irritation, but a lapse in payment altogether may lead to big problems, especially if this neglect coincides with one of life’s curveballs – an accident, sudden illness, or other unpleasant surprises.

In Virginia, child support payments are determined by a number of factors, including the payor’s income, how many children are affected, and related expenses to cover (you can read more about child support in Virginia on our site). Working with an attorney specializing in family law, you may be awarded a substantial amount from your ex, but what happens when the money doesn’t arrive when it should?

Before you go into full panic or rage, take a deep breath and calmly approach the situation. Assuming the worst adds tension you don’t need.

First, assess your finances. Are certain bills and debts due that you can’t cover without the money your ex owes you? Determine what you can pay and what needs to be deferred until you’re able to resolve the late or missed payment. Plan minimum payments on credit cards if necessary, and hold off on non-essential spends until you get that financial cushion back.

Next, go to the source. Consider giving your ex the benefit of the doubt, especially if your post-marriage relationship has been cordial to this point. An emergency or illness on their end may have prevented the payment, or maybe they simply forgot. A polite reminder from you just may make everything okay again.

Let’s say, though, you and your ex haven’t been getting along and your calls and texts have gone ignored. If so, talk to your lawyer. Your attorney can help you determine the next step in claiming the money that is rightfully yours. This could mean taking your ex-spouse to court, assuming the amount owed is worth the legal fees accrued, or connecting with a collection agency specializing in missed alimony and child support payments.

Living as a single parent comes with enough hassles, and there’s never a convenient time to deal with a negligent ex. The law offices of Bush & Taylor, P.C. have helped many parents in Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and the Eastern Shore with back-owed alimony and child support, and our attorneys are here to listen. Call us today to learn more about our family law practice.