I certainly know how tedious family law orders can be. Some divorce decrees can grow to over 100 pages! But what you are not reading, or what you are ignoring, can turn out to really bite you in the backside.
If you are ordered to pay child support, and you are also ordered to pay through the State Disbursement Unit, there can be stiff punishments for not doing so. If both of these things are true, I’d be willing to bet that somewhere tucked in towards the end of the decree, there is a section with the heading “No Credit for Informal Payments”. This contains a nasty little paragraph that will say that you haven’t met your child support obligation unless it is paid through the Disbursement Unit. So all of those checks that you meticulously labeled as that month’s child support and sent in the mail, with a return receipt requested, and diligently filed away as proof, count as nothing more than a gift. The amount of child support paid: $0.
I know it can be frustrating, but those payments MUST go through the Disbursement Unit to be considered child support. Now some Court’s might be more lenient than others on this, but at best you are running the risk of having to answer for ignoring the Court order, and at worst you are scrambling to pay all of that back-child support that you thought you had already paid.
If you know you don’t want to use the Disbursement Unit, you need to make sure you have someone advocating for you before the order gets entered. If this sounds like you, it is time to contact a dedicated family law attorney. To schedule a consultation, contact us today.