If you are parents who are divorcing, your minor children and their needs play a major role in your divorce agreement. The courts take a strong stance on providing legal protections for these vulnerable and innocent parties in a divorce situation, and the judicial system has enacted stringent laws to ensure that their care continues past the final decree. Child support laws and guidelines have been put in place, and the courts take their enforcement seriously, so read on for more information about laws enacted to ensure that minor children are financially protected with child support.
Penalties for non-payment of child support.
The 'best interest of the child" mandate adopted by family law courts mean severe penalties for failing to pay support amounts as ordered, including:
- Wage garnishment
- Contempt of court charges
- Liens on property (real estate, vehicles, etc.)
- Arrest and jail time
- Income tax refunds withheld
- Expulsion from government aid programs, such as food stamps and Section 8.
- Revocation of driver's license
- Exclusion from government-backed mortgage loan programs, like USDA and FHA loans, as well as government-backed student loan programs.
Child support is federally enforced.
All states are empowered to enforce child support orders, no matter what state the support order originated in.
Moreover, if you are found guilty of purposely moving to evade paying as ordered, (Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act), you may be charged with a federal crime.
What to do if you cannot pay.
Local child support enforcement agencies will work with you to create a repayment plan to help you get caught up, so don't ignore your responsibility to your child when you encounter financial difficulties.
If your difficulties are more permanent, such as a job loss or serious health issues, you must seek relief through the courts. Contact a family law attorney for assistance in filing a request for a support hearing and prepare to plead your case. If circumstances warrant, you may be able to have the child support order amended to a reduced amount.
Using non-support to deny visitation.
Visitation and child support, while both related to the welfare of a minor child, are considered separate issues by the courts. Failure for the non-custodial parent to pay their child support obligations are not grounds for denying that parent their rights to visitation with the child. The courts take a dim view of parents who deny visitation for this reason, and you could be held in contempt of court.
To learn more, contact a family lawyer in your area.