Ask the child support pros… can we collect from a self-employed NCP living out of state

QUESTION FROM A WEBSITE VISITOR:

Hi. My name is Sheri Wilson. I live in Jackson, MS. My ex husband owes right at $55,000 in back child support and medical bills. I hired a private attorney several years ago and recently got my local DHS office involved at the advice of my attorney. My ex lives in Alabama now and the state turned my case over to Alabama to try and collect. My issue is that the attorney generals office in Alabama was going after him but now have said that since I have a private attorney they are dropping their case against him. My attorney says she’s not getting paid by my ex for her fees so she doesn’t want to really do any extra to try and make him pay. We go back to court in June. The court system has locked him up once in the almost 3 yrs we have been fighting this. And that was for 77 days and let him out with $500 to me and $500 to my attorney. My attorney and DHS say with him being self employed it is impossible or will be impossible to get what he owes me. My attorney even said yesterday that he will die before I ever get it. What can I do? He seems to always beat the system.
Thanks in advance for any help or guidance you can give me.

Sincerely,
Sheri Wilson

OUR ANSWER:

Hi Sheri

I’m sorry to hear that your case is not going well with the state. You are one of many cases that have non-custodial parent who are self-employed and that does pose an issue for collection. There are some cases unfortunately that are not going to see the support owed collect. This is truly an issue for the state to address through contempt at your June court date. If the children are under 18 years old, I would push for contempt; since he is self-employed there is no way to garnish so if may be that the court hears would be the primary way to get his attention regarding the support issue.

Private enforcement is really not an option here, primarily since Alabama DHS is not an agency we can work with. I wish I had more information for you; your potential answer here is contempt.

Good luck in June!

Team SCI

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