I am so lucky to be another single mom out there trying to support her child, without help from his father. My son is now 17 years old but 10 years ago I went after his father for the back child support he owed me. We divorced when Brandon was two years old. I ended up on welfare and collecting food stamps. This is not how my life was supposed to be. However, with no education and a baby to support there was not much of a choice. So I went back to school in order to make a better life for us. While I was struggling to go to school full-time, raise my baby and work part-time, the man who fathered this child was sitting back doing nothing. Well I put an end to that in a timely manner.
The first step in collecting any child support is to get a court order. Most states require child support to be taken directly out of the non-custodial parents’ paycheck. If your state does not require garnishment, please insist on it. No matter how friendly you may still be with the other parent it, is in your best interest and the interest of your child to have these payments taken directly from the other parents’ paycheck.
Once you have the court order, if for some reason the parent stops working or gets a new job. Call the child support agency and report it. My ex was notorious for getting a job and quitting just as child support would catch up with him. Every time I would find out where he was working, I would make a call to the case worker. Sometimes he would make the mistake of telling me where he was working or someone I knew would see him, and inform me. Each and every time I would make that phone call to the case worker.
There came a time when my ex would not work at all. He would either find a job paying cash or someone to support him. Either way this meant that we did not have that money coming in. I never counted on child support since I knew it could end at any time. I did not want to worry I could not pay a bill because he did not pay. So when I realized this was going to be a chronic problem of him not paying. I took the next step in getting what was due to my son.
I arrived at the child support office with fire in my eyes. I waited to speak to a case worker, who informed me that in the State of Wisconsin a letter has to be sent to the non-custodial parent, informing them they are breaking a court order. Once the letter is sent there is a waiting period, in order to give them a chance to start paying. Needless to say the waiting period came and went, not a payment was made. I then proceeded, to call the case worker, who would not return my phone calls. Since she did not want to do her job and get my ex to pay, I went over her head. I went to her Supervisor and stated that I wanted a felony warrant for failure to pay child support issued.
Once the warrant was issued, it became another waiting game. Now I had to wait for him to break the law and get picked up. It could something as minor as a speeding ticket and when the police ran a warrant check, the felony warrant would show up. About three months later, I got a notice to show up to court for child support. Yes, that meant they got him and now it was either pay or end up in prison. We went to court and he tried to say he was giving me money all along and I was not reporting it. Ha! That was a joke the judge saw right through. The judge gave him so much time to come up with the two thousand dollars he owed me or he would be sitting in a nice cell. I took my son out of town for a week to visit his Grandparents in Atlanta, GA when we arrived home and I opened the mail. I found a check for two thousand dollars.
Getting back child support is not an easy process. It takes determination and patience; you have to be willing to make lots of phone calls and sit for hours waiting to speak to someone. However it is not a choice, the non-custodial parent owes it to their child (ren) to pay child support. I wish I could say that after that it was smooth sailing in getting my payments, but that is not the case. Now I get very small payments since my ex had more children. He knows I am not the one to not pay as I have no issue dragging him right back into court. So don’t sell yourself or your child (ren) short, go after the money that is rightfully theirs.