Payment of Child Support and Spousal Support

When you are under a court ordered obligation to pay support, you must do so timely.  It is important to be aware that payment of your support is not made when you send a check, and not when the check is received.  Payment is only legally made when the check is negotiated for good funds by being deposited and clearing your account.  This is true of all payments made by check. So saving your canceled checks is the only way to prove payment.

If you notice your checks are not clearing the bank, inquire of the person who you send the payments to if he or she received it or not, and if received, ask why it has not been deposited.  Make sure to do this in writing to have copies in case you are taken to court for arrears if you are just being set up.  If the person claims never having received the checks, stop all the uncleared checks, issue new ones and ask a lawyer to forward it for you.  The court will not believe you that you mailed it, but will believe a lawyer who can show the court a copy of his or her cover letter along with copies of the check(s) forwarded and swear as an officer of the court that he or she mailed it.

Also important to know is that if your payment is due, for example, on or before the 5th of each month, that means it must be received by the person to whom it is due on or before the 5th of the month.  If it is received on the 6th or later, it technically counts as the following month’s payment and you become a month in arrears.  Thus, always mail your payment at least five days before it is due.

If you run into monetary difficulties and the person to whom you pay child and/or spousal support is wiling to be understanding and cut you some slack, make sure you have a paper trail of this and as soon as you are able to, return to full payment and make payments towards arrears before you are taken to court.