Getting a divorce and dealing with custody arrangements is stressful for anyone. What becomes even more stressful is when the parent who is obligated to pay child support and other expenses fails to make payments. Sadly, this happens often, and it can leave the parent expecting those payments in a significant financial bind.

If you rely on those payments to keep your children fed, clothed and housed, you may feel helpless when the money does not come through. However, keep in mind that you do have some options to consider if you find yourself in this type of situation.

The following are a few steps that you will need to take in order to get your former spouse to make the obligatory payments.

Maintain Immaculate Records

The best way to cover yourself in any situation is to become a master at recordkeeping. The more accurate your records are, the more evidence you will have when navigating child support payment issues. You will need to keep copies of all sorts of things, including receipts for your utilities, canceled checks and other proofs of payment for various necessities for your children.

These records will serve as evidence that you indeed had those expenses for a quantifiable period of time. It will show the judge that you have had the same expenses for months or years on end, not that you are suddenly trying to get money out of your former spouse. If you cannot show that you paid for something in the past, you may have a hard time proving that you need the money now.

Notify Your Former Spouse About the Issue in Writing

Once the payment has been missed and it is clear it was not an oversight, you need to notify your former spouse in writing about the issue. Using email is the best, but you can do so with a traditional letter as well. To maintain proof, you will need to send it certified so that you will get a receipt.

When you are penning your notification, it is essential that you do not bring emotion into the verbiage. You will need to be very clear and concise when explaining that the payment is past due and that he or she is legally obligated to pay per the divorce decree.

This letter will show that you have made an effort to contact your former spouse and that he or she knows that there is an obligation to pay. It will also serve as a way for him or her to get back to you to explain the issue early on. If there is no response until later in the process, it can become very challenging in the long run to defend his or her actions.

File a Petition in Court

If you have not been able to come to a conclusion on your own, you will need to get the court involved by filing a petition. The petition will enforce the agreement handed down by the court. If you have to go this route, you can also include the court costs and attorney's fees in the money that is owed to you since it is a failure to pay that caused the involvement of the court.

When you file a petition, you will need to attach all the records of receipt that you have kept during this time. You will also need to show your proof of communication with your former spouse showing what payments were missed and your attempts to resolve it on your own.

Enter Litigation

The final option is to litigate the case. This is considered a last resort, but may be necessary in getting your payment. While not ideal, it may be the only way you will ultimately get paid.

For assistance with your legal matters, please contact Hart Law Offices, P.C.