KUFFEL, HULTGRENN,
KLASHKE, SHEA & ELLERD, LLP Attorneys at Law
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When you got a divorce from your spouse, it was with the understanding that they'd be paying child support. You had a more flexible job, so you've had to take on the responsibility of raising your child the majority of the time. Their financial support isn't necessary, but that doesn't mean it isn't wanted.

Since you don't need the money to support your child, you had hoped to set it aside in a college fund. By the time they reached 18, you believed that it would be enough to support them through school. Sadly, the other parent is not paying, and you don't know what you can do to make them pay up.

If the other parent isn't paying support, they are in violation of the support order

The first thing to understand is that not paying child support when there is a court order to do so is illegal. Someone who does not pay support when ordered to do so can have their wages garnished, taxes withheld and other penalties used against them.

In a situation where the other parent truly cannot pay, Washington has an Alternative Solutions program. This is an initiative that helps parents find better jobs, get training, find good housing, obtain food, and get legal and medical resources. Reflecting on that, there is really no reason that any parent in Washington should be going without paying what they owe.

If you don't need support, should you let the other parent go without paying?

Realistically, many custodial parents don't need the secondary financial support of an ex-spouse to raise their child. However, it is unfair to the custodial parent and the child to have this money withheld. Why? Child support can be used for many things, from providing for more extracurricular activities to building up a college fund. Whether it's used for fun vacations for your child or to put much-needed food on the table, child support is ordered for good reason. It takes two people to make a child, so both should be held responsible for the child's needs as they grow older.

If your child is not receiving the support that they are entitled to, you can file a complaint with the court and seek to have the support order enforced. It may take time, but it is important to make sure the other parent is paying support and that the money your child needs is always available.

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