Don't Be A Deadbeat: Child Support Enforcement And You

If you and your spouse have decided to call it quits, you will find it necessary to resolve many contentious issues. When it comes to dealing with children, you should know that there are strong laws to protect these vulnerable parties from harm during divorce. One parent will likely be ordered to pay child support for the minor child of the marriage, unless you are participating in a 50/50 parenting plan. Read on to learn more about how serious the law takes child support provision and what can happen to those who don't fulfill their obligations.

Pay Child Support or Suffer the Consequences

As mentioned above, the laws about protecting the most innocent parties in a divorce are strict, and if you are ordered to pay child support you must comply or face some serious consequences, such as some or all of the below:

  • Being charged with contempt of court for disobeying a court order, resulting in fines and the possibility of jail time.
  • Having your wages garnished, which means that a legal order has been put in place to take a certain portion of your wages from the source, your employer; your pay will show a deduction for the garnishment alongside the taxes and other deductions.
  • Having liens placed on real estate and other property; this is another legal step that essentially freezes your asset, preventing your from selling it until the debt is paid.
  • Having your federal income tax refund held and used to pay child support arrears.
  • Arrest and jail time.
  • Expulsion from government aid programs like low income housing assistance and food stamps.
  • Having your driver's license suspended.
  • Being blocked from using government-backed loan programs for mortgages and student loans, such as those sponsored by the FHA, the USDA, the Veterans Administration and more.

Take Action When You Cannot Pay

Burying your head in the sand and pretending that your child support obligation has disappeared is not recommended, as you can see from the punishments shown above. If you have fallen behind, contact the child support enforcement agency in your county and work with them to set up some alternate payment arrangements to help you get caught up.

Child support payment amounts are almost always based on the income of the parent who pays, and sometimes incomes fall when job circumstances change. If you have lost your job, your job has reduced your hours, you have been too ill to work or other serious income issues, you may need to petition the courts to make a change in your payment amount. Speak to a family law attorney for help in requesting a child support alteration hearing. Contact a firm like Campbell, Dille, Barnett & Smith, P.L.L.C. to learn more.