How Long Should I Wait Before Pursuing Back Child Support


My divorce was finalized five  years ago and my ex-spouse has never paid the child support our 13-year-old son is entitled to. She also repeatedly badmouths me in front of him.

My lawyers say it is not worth pursuing contempt and that we should wait until the dollars add up to more money before going after her. Complicating matters is the fact that we are assigned to a very conservative judge known to disfavor fathers having custody.

Is it worth pursuing the back support?


While I am not licensed to practice law in your and am unable to give you legal advice, I can give you some general observations on this issue based on the jurisdiction where I practice.

Where I do practice in Virginia, I always advise my clients to wait until the back support is around $5,000. Then we file for the back support, and all the other violations of the court order.

What this does is allow us to go into the court showing a pattern and practice of bad behavior through the several instances. It is also raises the likelihood that she will suffer a more serious punishment for her contemptuous behavior.

As for the mother-friendly judge, I would not let that dissuade me from pursuing my rights. As you point out, your son will soon be 14 and many states view this as an age where a child can testify. That being said, you would have the ability to use your son’s opinion against any claim that your ex may make.

Contempt of Court is very fact-specific and requires a specialized knowledge of local law. For these reasons I would suggest you contact an attorney who specializes in family law matters in your jurisdiction.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than tips on support, so please contact an attorney in your jurisdiction to obtain specific advice as to the laws of your state and how they impact your case.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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Shawn Garrison is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell & Cordell UK. He has written countless pieces dealing with the unique child custody and divorce issues that men and fathers face. Through his work on,, and, Mr. Garrison has become an authority on the complexities of the legal experience and was a content creator for the YouTube series “Dad’s Divorce Live” and additional videos on both the Dad’s Divorce and Cordell & Cordell YouTube channels. Mr. Garrison has managed the sites of these customers, and fostered the creation of several of their features, including the Cordell & Cordell attorney and office pages, the Dad’s Divorce Newsletter, and the Cordell & Cordell newsletter.

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