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How can I make my ex pay child support?

If you are a single or divorced parent who can't get child support out of your ex, you are likely struggling. It's a common problem, as the total for unpaid support owed to custodial parents in a recent year was over $14 billion dollars.

Below are some tips to use when trying to get an ex to pay up.

-- Talk to them frankly and civilly about the unpaid support. This will not be possible in all scenarios, but many parents who owe support are not typically deadbeats who don't want to pay up. They're struggling financially right along with you and may be up against circumstances that make it impossible to pay right now, such as a lay-off. Talking it out might lead to a resolution, or at least a promise to pay something each week or month until he gets on better financial footing.

-- Devise your financial "Plan B" to close your financial gap until support resumes or begins. You might have to take on a second job or get a personal loan from a family member. Look into career assistance if you are stuck in a dead-end low-wage job.

-- Call out the legal dogs, aka your attorney. Find out where you stand legally regarding your uncollected child support. If he is working for cash and immune to judgments because he owns nothing, consider whether the threat of jail time will be enough to convince him to pay up. Remember that nobody who is incarcerated will be able to earn money to pay support, however.

-- Make an appointment with the child support agency. It can be a lengthier process than retaining a private attorney to pursue the matter, but these agencies sometimes have a high success rate because they have computer-linked networks that can track a deadbeat parent across state lines.

-- Consider collecting your support money via a private collection agency. You will wind up owing them a portion of the amount collected, usually a third of the total they squeeze out of him or her, but the bonus is that if they don't collect, you won't owe.

Letting the other parent's child support obligations slide does a disservice not just to you, but to your children who count on these funds to make their childhood years a little easier. Seeking the advice and services of professionals can ease the financial strain for your family.

Source: divorcedmoms.com, "5 Steps To Take When Your Ex Doesn’t Pay Child Support," Karen Covy, accessed Aug. 19, 2016

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