In general, the law requires parents to support their children. Unless a parent terminates his or her parental rights or another extraordinary exception applies to this rule, parents are required under the law to physically and/or financially support their children.
As a family lawyer, from a law firm like the McKinney Law Group can explain, failure to live up to parental obligations as determined by law may lead to severe consequences. Parents who physically abandon their children and/or fail to pay child support may be held liable in civil and/or criminal contexts. They may have their tax returns withheld or their wages garnished. They may be incarcerated or required to perform community service. They may be compelled to attend parenting classes or check-in to rehabilitation facilities. They may even have their immigration efforts halted or compromised. The specific outcome of any case is determined by the circumstances surrounding it. For this reason, it is critically important for an individual who has questions about child support to seek legal counsel instead of avoiding those obligations or remaining uneducated about their legal circumstances.
Child Support and Immigration
Not every country approaches the issue of child support in the way the United States does. However, the U.S. family legal system does honor those child support orders that have been put in place by foreign courts. Similarly, the federal agencies that oversee the nation’s immigration laws also honor foreign child support orders. As a result, an individual’s desire to immigrate to the U.S. is less likely to be honored if that individual has outstanding child support debt owed in another country.
It is possible for applicants to be denied permission to immigrate to the United States or become naturalized if they owe child support debt to a child residing either in America or abroad. In addition, parents who have minor children that do not reside with them (these children may either live domestically or outside the U.S.) are generally required to prove that they provide adequate support for those children when seeking to obtain immigration or naturalization permissions. Therefore, it is not only important for parents who owe outstanding debts to make good on their child support obligations, it is important to be able to prove that proper child support is being provided at the time that one wishes to become a legal immigrant or naturalized citizen.
Legal Guidance Is Available
If you have questions about immigration, child custody and/or child support, please do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced attorney. There are so many variables involved in any family legal situation influenced by immigration matters that it is generally a good idea to seek legal counsel before attempting to resolve an issue. Failure to take certain legal and/or practical realities into account may lead to an even more complex situation than you began with.
Consulting with a lawyer will not obligate you to take any action and consultations are generally confidential. But in order to make an informed decision about your situation, it may benefit you greatly to set up a meeting with an attorney sooner rather than later.