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Steps for Rhode Island parents with child support troubles

Some single custodial parents in Rhode Island are no doubt aware of how challenging it can be to collect child support payments. Americans, on average, do not have the best track record when it comes to paying child support.

Though recent reports giving exact numbers on unpaid child support are scarce, the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement did release information in 2009 that Rhode Island residents may find surprising. $108 billion was owed to custodial parents in back payments just four years ago, and the problem continues today.

Thankfully, there are steps a custodial parent can take when an ex-spouse neglects or refuses to pay child support. Studies show that custodial parents who choose to block off their ex from visiting the couple's child -- severing lines of communication between parent and child and the parents themselves -- make it so there is statistically less of a chance that the non-custodial parent will pay child support. Keeping communication open allows the custodial parent to request some -- if not all -- of the payment owed, and maybe even come to a child support modification agreement out of court.

Unfortunately, though, these issues are not always resolvable outside of the court system. In cases where court action is required, there are a number of legal options custodial parents can take. Motions can be filed for enforcement that may result in a number of penalties for the ex who is refusing to pay child support. These include suspension of a driver's license, garnished wages and even jail time.

For anyone behind on child support facing these penalties, or anyone looking to enforce an order, seeking guidance and understanding of one's legal rights will prove immensely helpful.

Source: U.S. News Money, "What to Do When Your Ex Won't (or Can't) pay Child Support," Geoff Williams, Nov. 20, 2013

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