Any number of reasons might cause you to become delinquent on a financial obligation. If that obligation is a child support payment, think twice about skipping a payment. You could face penalties at the state and federal levels.
Under certain circumstances, it's illegal to intentionally fail to pay child support payments. If you have a court ordered support payment for a child who lives in another state. Pay it; else you're committing a crime.
It's a misdemeanor
If you allow the payment to become overdue for more than a year, or if you owe more than $5,000, you might go to prison for up to six months.
It's a felony
If you allow the payment to become overdue for more than two years, or if you owe more than $10,000, you might go to prison for up to two years
You also can't cross state lines or leave the country in an attempt to avoid making your child support payments. If you do and you're convicted of this crime, you might serve up to two years of prison time.
Child support enforcement is often handled at the state level. The laws and techniques to ensure payments vary, but each state has several ways to enforce child support payments. Some popular enforcement strategies include the following:
Social Media Notice
Some states will post your picture online if you're delinquent with your payments. For example, Louisiana posts a "most wanted" poster on the state's website. Visitors to the site can download the poster and can search the state's database of delinquent payers. This database tracks payers who haven't paid in the last six moths and owe at least $10,000.
If you're delinquent with your child support payments, your state might suspend your various licenses. These include drivers, hunting and fishing, and professional licenses. Some states might also revoke your passport or make you ineligible to renew it. For example, if you're a resident of Florida and you owe more than $2,500, you can't renew your passport until you pay your child support arrears.
Your state's child support enforcement agency might grab a hold of a portion of your paycheck if you're late with your child support payments. They also might take your tax refunds to cover your past due amount. And, if you win a substantial lottery amount, your state might deduct your past due amount from your winnings. Also, if you're entitled to worker's compensation payments, your state might deduct a portion of your payments to cover your past due amounts.
Some states will file suit against you if you're delinquent with your payments. If you don't show up in court the state might post a warrant for your arrest. If the court finds that you can pay, but choose not to pay, you might get sentenced to jail.
Avoid the ramifications of late child support payments. Talk with a family law lawyer like Harold Salant Strassfield & Spielberg who's knowledgeable about child support orders. Your lawyer might be able to get a reduction in your child support amount.