It can be difficult, in many ways, to be a co-parent. Visitation rights, holidays and important childrearing decisions can all become very complex, especially is the two co-parents have an acrimonious relationship. One common point of contention is child support.
In some cases, the noncustodial parent does not send child support to the custodial parent. There are a number of reasons for this behavior; in some cases, the noncustodial parent may feel the payments are unfair and refuse to send them. Other times, the parent may simply be unable to afford them.
There are a number of things a custodial parent can do in a situation where he or she cannot rely upon child support payments. It is advisable, for example, not to include child support in the budget when the issue is in doubt. If one does not budget around child support, it will not ruin one's plans when the money doesn't come in.
This doesn't solve the long-term problem, however. When a noncustodial parent shows a long-term history of nonpayment, he or she can be taken to court. This is a legal action that can result in numerous consequences for the nonpaying parent. Some of the parents wages, for example, could be taken out of every paycheck. This helps to ensure that the payments will be made properly and on time.
Unfortunately, taking a person to court for child support debt is not always easy. They may be difficult to find, and local law enforcement is often reluctant to devote resources to locating them. Similarly, courts have limited ability to take action against unemployed people, as they have no resources to give to child support.
In these situations, it is best to make sure the noncustodial parent is involved in the child's life. This can help improve the feeling of goodwill between parent and child, making them more likely to pay their back child support as soon as they have the means.
Source: U.S. News and World Report, "What to Do When Your Ex Won't (or Can't) Pay Child Support" Geoff Williams, Nov. 20, 2013