Family law judges often order non-custodial parents — ones who enjoy less parenting time than the other or earn more than their co-parent — to pay child support. Judges often determine child support based on a formula and have discretionary power to order additional amounts.
If you or your co-parent are subject to a child support order, the court likely explained that the state expects both parents to share in the financial responsibility of raising a child.
Most parents wouldn’t think twice about paying for things that their child wants or needs. Things may become contentious if parents disagree on how funds should be spent, though. You shouldn’t let this deter you from making child support payments if the court has ordered you to pay them. You may expose yourself to legal liability if you do.
What are the penalties for not paying child support?
State laws give judges a lot of leeway in imposing punishments when individuals violate their child support orders. The following is a list of potential implications of not paying what you owe:
- Driver’s license suspension: A judge may report a parent’s failure to pay support to government agencies, resulting in a suspension or revocation of their driver’s license. It may only be removed once a parent is no longer in arrears.
- Incarceration: You may end up facing misdemeanor charges if you accumulate up to $10,000 in back child support. Federal charges may be levied against you if you accumulate more than that amount.
- Wage garnishment: Government officials may decide to garnish a parent’s wages if they don’t make timely child support payments. They may also intercept any federal tax refunds that you’re due.
- Passport denial or revocation: The federal government may deny your request for a passport or revoke an existing one if you fall behind in making child support payments.
The military expects its service members to be responsible for tending to their financial obligations. A service member’s commander may recommend dishonorable discharge if they fail to make ordered child support payments.
A parent’s decision to not pay child support can greatly impact their life. That’s why it’s always best if a parent lets the court know immediately if they’re finding it difficult to stay on top of payments. If you’re not receiving the support you should be, then you’ll want to know what steps to take to get that back on track once again.