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Using Mississippi law to collect child support

Child support can be one of the most contentious issues in a Mississippi divorce. Unfortunately, the entry of the formal decree of dissolution may not end the conflict. For many reasons, a person who is required to pay child support to the custodial parent may default on this obligation. For example, a non-custodial parent who is required to pay child support to the former spouse may feel that the amount is too high, that the divorce proceeding was unfair or that the former spouse does not deserve the payments. Sometimes, financial difficult will cause a former spouse to default on child support payments. The State of Mississippi provides a number of collection methods to ensure that child support payments are paid when and in the amount required by the court.

Some procedures operate almost automatically. The Mississippi Department of Human Services can serve a notice of income withholding on the obligated spouse's employer if payments are in arrears. After service of the notice, the employer must withhold a prescribed portion of the obligated spouse's wages or salary until the delinquency is paid up. Another method is to have the state withhold support from the non-custodial spouse's unemployment benefits. Similar methods are used to subtract delinquent payments from tax refunds owed to the non-custodial parent. The state can also suspend the non-custodial spouse's driver's license if child support is delinquent.

A more serious method of enforcement of child support obligations is to ask the court to hold the non-custodial spouse in contempt of court for failing to make required support payments. This method usually requires the services of an attorney, but the consequences for the non-complying spouse can be severe, including the possibility of a jail sentence.

Anyone who has faced difficulty in obtaining regular child support payments from a former spouse may wish to consult an experienced divorce attorney about these remedies. A knowledgeable attorney can provide advice on which remedies will be most effective and can, if necessary, appear in court to seek judicial relief.

Source: Mississippi Department of Human Services, "Child Support - Collection and Enforcement," accessed on May 15, 2017

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