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Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years experience as practicing attorney
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I have been officially divorced for almost 3 years. My ex-husband

Customer Question

I have been officially divorced for almost 3 years. My ex-husband has not paid child support as ordered. He now owes me close to 30,000. For the past 8 months, we have tried to have him served with Contempt of Court, but he is hiding and avoiding being served. I am in Georgia and he is now staying with his parents in Mississippi. We are about to have the locall sheriffs dept in MS attempt to serve him, but I feel sure his parents will say he doesn't live there (although I know he is). If this attempt fails...I see no hope in sight and my hands are tied to make him answer to his responsibilities. Are there any other alternatives available if we cant get him "officially served"? I am raising our 3 children and need the child support. I am barely making it. Please advise.


I know he is currently receiving unemployment & getting paid under the table by his parents for work on their farm. His parents are loaded and have endless amounts of money.


He also has a open charge in Cobb County in Atlanta for a battery charge against his girlfriend while he lived here for a short period of time. He is due in court (or his lawyer is anyway) for a Plea hearing in June.


My mother has spent close to $1300 just trying to get him served.

Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 6 years ago.

Dear JACUSTOMER - Unless you can get him served you can't have him arrested or force him to come to court. Obviously the support will continue to accumulate but while he is in hiding there's not much you can do beyond what you have already done. When someone wants to hide it can be very difficult to find them. The FBI has its Ten Most Wanted List and if the FBI can't find who they are looking for you can imagine that finding a deadbeat dad is not going to be an easy task.

Even if you find him it doesn't mean you will automatically get your money if he has none. The judge can put him in jail but that doesn't put food on the table. This is a very common problem in the country and as hard as law enforcement tries it is not always possible to locate someone like this.

It sounds like you have at least kept up the pursuit and that is all you can do. One of these days he will be found and then the court can deal with him. There only so many ways to find someone and beyond what you have done I know of no magical way to get him to appear.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

my lawyer said shes gonna do some research because there may be some alternatives...perhaps convincing the judge based on our proof of how he is alluding. it just seems crazy that he's getting away with this.


when the sheriffs go to his parents house do they have to admit he lives there in order to leave the papers? they will be lying for him. as i filed for a criminal warrant in magistrate court for abandonment of child and it was sent certified mail to the MS address and they have proof of his signature - which IMO is proof he does live there.


any idea based on our proof of his alluding all this time and the amount in which he owes...what the judge may do? put him in jail? his parents have more than enough money to pay what he owes and then some. they are wealthy.


also, because he is doing this...i am not letting him speak to the children on the phone. ive told him until he does what he's supposed to - he cant. he has told me that I am in contempt for that. i feel sure his contempt would come before mine in a judge's eyes.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Other.
another opinion
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 6 years ago.

All of what you say is true as far as putting him in jail but if you or the sheriff can't find him he can't be put in jail. You cannot force a magistrate to file criminal charges and since he has not committed any crime in your case I can't see that any crime has been committed. It is not illegal to avoid being served in a civil case. He may have a problem in the GA case if he does not show in court and you may want to have a process server attend his court hearing in order to have him served.

I completely understand what you are saying but finding people is not a legal issue that a lawyer can solve. His parents are not part of the case so they have no obligation to cooperate When he is found he can be put in jail for failure to pay support but not for avoiding being served. If he were eluding the police on a criminal charge that would be different but this is a civil contempt issue.

I'm really not certain what you want me to tell you as to how to locate him. What you say has been done is exactly what I would tell anyone to do in this situation.