One strategy many parents use to evade paying child support is to get paid “under the table”—meaning, their employer usually pays in cash and doesn’t report the wages to the IRS. Because no one sees the money, your ex doesn’t report it as income to the court.
These under-the-table arrangements are fairly common in some industries, like construction. Someone who has steady gig work, like driving a taxi or doing yard work, might also accept cash and never pay taxes on it. What do you do if you’re the other parent expecting to receive support for your children? Fortunately, a League City family law attorney can help.
Step 1: Find Proof Your Ex is Working Under the Table
How do you know this is happening? Maybe you’ve seen your ex leaving a job site regularly, or you heard through the grapevine that he was working for someone. Document this as best as you can. Write down dates or the names of witnesses. You might need to present this evidence to a judge.
Sometimes you don’t have solid proof, but you do have suspicions. For example, your ex might drive a brand-new car or have moved into a new home with no apparent ability to pay for it. Take a picture of the car or house so you can show a judge.
Step 2: Seek Enforcement
You can file a complaint with the Attorney General, who can investigate and seek child support from your ex. Or you can file a motion in court informing a judge that your ex is hiding income. The judge should hold a hearing where your ex will probably need to answer questions under oath.
Although your ex might claim to be unemployed, a judge can “impute” income based on your ex’s work history and education. The judge should use this number to calculate support. Judges do this so that a parent doesn’t think they can skate by without working.
Step 3: Ask for Sanctions
Even if you take your ex to court, there’s still a chance he’ll lie to the judge. What do you do then? Helpfully, you can ask for sanctions to light a fire under your ex and get him to pay up.
A court can do any of the following:
- Suspend your ex’s driver’s license until payment is made.
- Report your ex to a creditor bureau so that his credit will fall.
- Put a lien on your ex’s property (like a home or car). This lien gives you a right of payment when the property is sold or foreclosed on.
- Find your ex in contempt of court, which could lead to fines or even time in jail.
- Garnish your ex’s wages if you can identify an employer.
The best sanction would be any that finally gets your ex to pay up and support your children.
Step 4: Contact Tad Nelson for Assistance
We have helped many parents seek enforcement of child support orders and are available to help you. Contact our Galveston family law attorney for more information.