I recently lost my job and have fallen behind on child support, but I am doing everything I can to catch back up.
However, my ex refused partial payment and told my kids I would be thrown in jail since I am not paying despite our divorce decree clearly stating we are not to involve the children in anything.
What are my rights and options?
You should schedule a meeting with an attorney as quickly as possible to fully arm yourself with relevant legal knowledge on how to avoid incarceration or other consequences of not paying as ordered.
As you stated, your ex-wife should not be involving your children in these matters. Those statements may be the basis for a contempt action against her. Usually, that’s easier said than done because it is difficult to prove.
However, an attorney in your state can better advise you as to how you can best prevent your ex-wife from including the children in these adult discussions. A letter explaining the consequences of her statements can sometimes be sufficient.
Typically, a court will not incarcerate a father that has exhausted all means to pay his child support and is actively trying to provide for his children. Here, I encourage you to pay what you are able and document that you are trying to work out a payment plan.
Send text messages or emails when communicating with your ex-wife about this. Bring these documents with you to your consultation with an attorney so that they can best advise how to proceed.
It may be that the payment plan needs to be approved by the court.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than tips on your situation, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.
To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, contact Cordell & Cordell.