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The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.

Are there consequences for not paying child support?

Posted on in Child Support
The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.

Raising is a child is rewarding, yet difficult task. However, raising child without child support money is an entirely different matter altogether. The good news though, is that you do have options. If the other parent is failing to make their court-ordered payments, you can take action. 

Before taking any action though, it is important to note that you can't restrict visitation or parenting time as a consequence of not paying child support. Child support and child custody are two separate issues.

Getting help to enforce an existing child support order

Enforcing child support orders is something the government has been involved with for quite some time. In fact, it's the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984 that gives district attorneys the ability to step in to try and get the payments. 

Typically, the first step is that the district attorney will meet up with the non-paying parent to set up payments. If this does not work though -- and the parent continues to not pay -- there are next steps that can be taken. These can include: 

  • Suspending a driver's license 
  • Suspending a business or professional license 
  • Garnishing wages
  • Recovering actual property
  • Withholding tax refunds 

You may have also heard that parents who owe child support can wind up in jail. This is true, but the courts tend to use this as a last resort as it does not solve the issue. A parent who is in jail is no longer earning money to even pay child support. This said, if a parent continues to not follow their court-ordered child support arrangement, jail time could still wind up being an option. 

Use the system to protect your rights

Navigating the child support system is not simple and it takes time to accomplish any goal, no matter how quickly you may need to resolve it. It is important to understand that the process is not a simple one, so it is good to use any legal resources you have to help you understand the issues at hand and avoid pitfalls along the way.

The biggest piece of advice is to make sure to follow the process for obtaining support -- including back payments. Do not turn to threats or stopping the children from seeing their other parent. While you may be angry about the other parent not paying, breaking your child custody agreement can only further complicate matters. 

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