Fighting over money

How to Deal with an Ex Who Owes Child Support

If your ex-spouse is behind on child support payments, it can be an incredibly stressful and frustrating situation. Not receiving owed child support can put a major financial strain on the household with primary child custody. It can also breed resentment and negatively impact your ability to co-parent effectively.

When a co-parent owes substantial back child support, it’s important to address the issue productively. Here are some tips for how to deal with an ex who isn’t making the required child support payments in Fort Worth, Texas.

Understand the Reasons

It’s frustrating to be in this situation, but before tackling the issue with a Fort Worth divorce lawyer, try to understand why your co-parent has accrued child support debt.


Did they lose their job or experience a significant drop in income? Do they have an undiagnosed mental health issue like depression that makes it difficult to keep up with payments? Are they spending money irresponsibly?


Knowing the root cause can help you figure out the most effective solutions. If it’s a temporary loss of income, you may be able to work out a modified payment plan. Counseling or financial education classes could help if something like reckless spending is the issue.

Communicate Calmly

When initiating the conversation about back child support, keeping emotions in check is essential. After a divorce, feelings can remain tense, and this situation rarely eases that tension.


An accusatory or angry tone will likely make your co-parent defensive. Instead, calmly explain your concerns about the missed payments and how it’s impacting your household. Share how much is owed and ask if there are any hardships preventing them from paying.


Listen to their reasons without judgment and acknowledge any legitimate challenges they face. You’re more likely to make progress with a two-way dialogue instead of a confrontation.

Draft a Formal Agreement

Work together to outline an affordable payment plan that addresses the arrears, even if it’s just $50 monthly. Get the agreement in writing or submit it to the court to formalize it. This creates accountability for your ex to start tackling what’s owed.


If their income has decreased substantially, they can petition the courts to lower the monthly payment amount. The formal legal process can take time, so a written side agreement keeps some payments coming in the interim.

Find Compromises

If your co-parent is still struggling after establishing a payment plan, discuss compromises. Could they provide needed items like clothes, school supplies or groceries instead of cash that month? Are they able to watch the children more to reduce your childcare costs?


With an open mindset, you may find solutions that provide some relief without waiving owed child support. Every little bit helps chip away at the debt.

Explore State Assistance

Research state-level child support enforcement remedies that can help collect what’s past due. Wage garnishment, tax refund interception, license suspension, and passport denial are examples of enforcement tools states can use to motivate payment of arrears.


Understanding these options gives you more leverage when negotiating since you can explain what the state of Texas can do.

Pursue Legal Remedies

If your ex continues to breach the child support order after reasonable efforts to get voluntary compliance, formal legal action from a Fort Worth family law attorney and the courts may be necessary. Through the court system, you can pursue contempt charges, garnished wages, liens on assets, and other consequences for nonpayment of court-ordered support.


The goal should be compliance, not punishment. But legal remedies provide a structured path to ensure financial support owed to your children is paid. Consult with an attorney in Fort Worth, TX to weigh the pros and cons of aggressive enforcement.

Settle Back Child Support with Nilsson Legal Group

Having a co-parent who owes substantial back child support often requires difficult conversations and uncomfortable situations.


But by using a mix of understanding, formal agreements, creative compromises and legal enforcement tools, you can work toward getting the child support compliance needed to provide stability for your kids.


With patience and an open mind, you can hopefully improve both the child support payments and co-parenting relationship over time.


However, if problems persist, rely on the Fort Worth divorce lawyers of Nilsson Legal Group. Our experience with child support and navigating your way to successful payments can help ease some of the tension you’re experiencing.

Contact us today to learn more about our services by calling our office located at 930 W. 1st St in Fort Worth. Our telephone number is (817)953-6688.