When a court-issued child support order comes into effect, it’s expected that the non-custodial parent will pay the specified amount at the right time as stipulated by the agreement. If the parent isn’t able to make the payments, he/she should contact a family attorney to help him/her file for child support modification.
The payments are made to help cover basic expenses and provide for the essential needs of the child. Because of this, non-payment can negatively affect a child’s growth and development. Despite this, statistics show that less than 50% of all children who are owed child support money actually receive their full, regular payments.
Does this mean you can just not pay and get away with it?
Not at all. In fact, there are all kinds of things that the government can do to either collect payments or punish people for not paying.
This is one of the primary (and quite effective) mechanisms of collecting child support payment from non-compliant parents.
How does it work?
The child support agency simply sends an order to the employer of the non-paying parent asking them to hold back a certain amount from that parent’s wages. The withheld amount is then directed towards child support obligations.
Basically, they take money right out of your paycheck before it ever gets to you.
Besides employment income, funds may also be withheld from other sources of income, including Social Security Disability, unemployment benefits, worker’s compensation, and so on.
Child Support Liens
A lien may be placed (even without a court hearing) on the house, land, car, or any other property belonging to a parent who owes child support.
Credit Bureau Reporting
Child support is like debt. When one fails to pay child support as required by the court, their delinquency can be reported to credit agencies.
That’s right – unpaid child support reflects negatively on your credit score.
A child support agency may also take federal and/or state taxes from a parent who fails to pay child support. For example, federal income tax returns can be intercepted, and any refund money sent to the respective child support agency.
Local child agencies have the power to request that your professional, driver’s, recreational (hunting and fishing), or occupational licenses be suspended and new applications for the same denied.
If a parent owes a large sum of unpaid child support or is severely behind on his/her payments, the prosecution may decide to involve state or federal law. When this happens, a criminal warrant may be issued.
Keep in mind that it will be enforceable across all states – not just within the issuing state. A criminal conviction for child support nonpayment can lead to fines and/or incarceration.
By failing to pay child support, one is essentially failing to obey court orders. As such, the custodial parent may file a contempt of court lawsuit against the non-paying parent.
If found guilty, you can be fined and/or incarcerated.
A passport may be denied to a parent who owes past-due child support of $25,000 or more.
Everyone, including the court system, understands that financial hardships are a reality. Therefore, there are provisions for revisiting and revising the child support plan when the non-custodial payment experiences economic difficulties.
Speaking to a family lawyer can be of immeasurable help when you wish to modify a child support order and avoid the consequences of not paying child support.