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What happens when child support goes unpaid?

| Apr 7, 2021 | Child Support

When you and your ex-spouse first divorced, you had no problem meeting the child support requirement in your divorce settlement. Recently, your circumstances changed, and now you cannot keep up with your obligation.

The Law Dictionary explains various consequences of not paying child support. Understand what you risk when you cannot or do not meet your court-ordered obligation.

Contempt of court

Because the court mandates child support, when you do not pay, a judge may find you in contempt of court. If this happens, you receive a written notice and must appear in court. You risk a bench warrant and arrest if you do not arrive for your court date. When standing before a judge, you must show adequate proof of why you cannot meet your financial obligation. Otherwise, you may end up in jail.

Additional penalties

Courts enforce additional punishment for non-custodial parents who do not honor their financial obligations to their children. Other than jail, non-paying parents may face a suspended license, seized assets or garnished wages or tax returns.

Changing circumstances

Perhaps you cannot pay child support because you recently lost your job, lost a source of income or hurt yourself and cannot work. If this describes your situation, consider requesting a child support modification. That way, you still pay child support, but you reduce how much you owe. Modifying child support does not alter the amount of back pay you may owe. If you even suspect you may have trouble covering child support, take action on addressing the issue with an experienced professional’s help.

Do not let unpaid child support catch up with you. Take action now to avoid the above consequences.

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