The issue of child support is an important one for parents who have separated or divorced. When one parent is not paying the required amount of child support, it can have a significant impact on the other parent, as well as the well-being of the children. When one parent refuses to pay child support, it can lead to various legal and financial issues.

Child support is a legal obligation of both parents to provide financial support for their children. In most cases, the parent with primary custody of the children is entitled to receive child support payments from the other parent. Depending on the situation, the amount of support may be determined by the court or through a private agreement between the parents.

What Happens When a Spouse Refuses to Pay Child Support?

When a spouse refuses to pay, the custodial parent can take legal action to enforce the court-ordered child support. The first step is to contact the local child support enforcement office. They can help the custodial parent file a complaint with the court. The court will then issue an order to the non-custodial parent to pay the child’s support. If the non-custodial parent refuses to comply with the court order, they may be held in contempt of court. This could result in fines, jail time, or other penalties.

The custodial parent may also be able to take legal action against the non-custodial parent in civil court. This could include filing a lawsuit to recover the unpaid child support. If the non-custodial parent is found liable, they may be ordered to pay the outstanding amount, plus interest, court costs, and attorney fees.

In addition to legal action, the custodial parent may also be able to take other measures to enforce the court order. For example, they may be able to intercept the non-custodial parent’s tax refund or ask their employer to deduct the amount from their wages.

Steps You Can Take If Your Ex-spouse Refuses to Pay Child Support

If your ex-spouse is refusing to pay child support, there are several steps you can take to ensure the children are provided for. 

The first step is to contact a lawyer. A lawyer can help you navigate the legal system and take the necessary steps to ensure your ex-spouse is held accountable. They can also help you seek assistance from the state if need be. 

The second step is to file a petition for child support. This legal document will outline the amount of child support owed and the payment schedule. Once the petition has been filed, the court can enforce the order. 

The third step is to contact the local child support enforcement agency. They have the power to take legal action on behalf of the custodial parent. They can also garnish wages, place liens on property, and take other measures to ensure that child support is paid. 

The fourth step is to contact your ex-spouse directly. Sometimes, a gentle reminder is all it takes to get the child support back on track. If your ex-spouse is unresponsive, then you may need to take further steps. 

Finally, you can contact a collection agency. Collection agencies specialize in collecting unpaid debts, and they may be able to help you get the child support that is owed to you. 


If your ex-spouse refuses to pay child support, there are a few things you can do. You can try to negotiate a payment plan with them, file a complaint with the Child Support Enforcement Agency, or take them to court. If you take them to court, the judge may order them to pay child support, and they may also order them to pay interest on the unpaid child support.

Need a child support investigator? You can work with us at Quinn & Associates. We are located in Southern California and Arizona, helping our clients fight for their rights. Get in touch with us to learn more about our services at Quinn & Associates.