Though you may have heard stories about it, most parents do not have a good understanding of the penalties for failing to pay child support and just how wide-ranging the possible punishments can be. Keep reading to get a better idea of the kind of tools the government can use to collect money owed for child support.
Go after your money
If you aren't making child support payments in accordance with your Court Order, one of the first things that can be done is to go after your money. This happens in several different ways, the most common of which is wage garnishment / income withholding. Beyond directly taking money out of a person's paycheck, the government is also authorized to seize federal or state tax refunds for anyone who is at least $150 in arrears and more than three months delinquent on child support payments. The government can also place a lien on your bank account or insurance claims and/or intercept unemployment benefits to get its money back.
Go after your licenses
Beyond going after your money, the government can also restrict your ability to work and even drive around town. This happens when the government seeks a license revocation for those who owe at least $500 and are at least 60 days behind on payments. In addition to driver's licenses, business, professional, commercial, and occupational licensees can all be suspended or revoked until payments are made to satisfy your arrearage.
Go after your freedom
The first way that your freedom might be impacted is that passports requests can be denied to those behind on their child support payments. Not wanting deadbeat parents to skip town, the federal government agreed to assist states in those cases where parents owe more than $2,500 in back payments.
Finally, you can end up going to jail over child support arrearages. This happens when the delinquent payor is ordered to appear in court to explain to a judge why the payments have not been made as ordered. If the parent fails to attend this hearing, the judge will automatically issue a bench warrant for that person's arrest.
Given how serious this and other consequences are, it is crucial to make every possible effort to remain current on your child support obligations.