American family courts hold all parents (unless they have voluntarily surrendered their child custody and visitation rights or these rights have been involuntarily revoked) responsible for providing for their children financially. When a child’s parents are no longer together, child support orders are put into place as a matter of course, in order to better ensure that both parents continue to provide financially for their children until those children reach the age of majority and/or graduate from high school. Increasingly, the courts insist that child support extend beyond this date if a child has special needs or attends college, but support is almost always ordered until a child becomes a legal adult and/or graduates high school.
Failure to pay ordered support is not an infraction treated lightly. While a limited number of parents have “gotten away with” failing to pay child support temporarily, outstanding child support obligations follow an individual throughout the course of their lifetime. So, unless you plan to live off the land in a cabin by yourself and never want to interact with the wider world again in any way, it is a good idea to speak with an attorney if you owe outstanding child support payments. It may be possible to obtain a modification and/or a payment plan in order to make righting your situation more manageable and paying future child support payments a more consistent event.
Ramifications: Failure to Pay Child Support
Failure to pay child support is usually treated as a federal offense, even though it is a state agency that governs your payment orders. Failing to pay your child support orders could result in wage garnishment, a suspension of your driver’s license, fines, dismissal from military service, a prohibition on issuing you a passport and/or imprisonment. Because there are often legal tools available designed to help you become current (and remain current) on your payments, there is little sense in risking any of these serious consequences. Speaking with an attorney is almost certainly your best bet if you are currently overdue on your payments.
Legal Guidance Is Available
If you have questions about child support orders, your personal child support obligations or child support payments that you are supposed to be receiving but aren’t for any reason, please do not hesitate to contact an experienced family law attorney today. Not so long ago, it was relatively easy to get away with failing to pay child support, difficult to enforce child support orders and virtually impossible to modify orders already in effect. Nowadays, the system holds parents responsible for paying child support more frequently and effectively. But the system also does a far better job of accommodating legitimate modification requests.
Whether you pay child support or receive it, if you have questions, please reach out today. Consultations are confidential so you do not need to be shy about voicing any concerns you may have at this time. Our firm has extensive experience with child support matters of all kinds and would be happy to help you. If you have questions about child support, contact a family law attorney, like the offices of The McKinney Law Group, for help with these tough issues.