As any parent can tell you, children are expensive. Things like clothing, meals, healthcare, school supplies, and extracurricular fees are only a few of the expenses children bring about. When two parents split up or end their marriage, it does not mean that they become any less responsible for those expenses. The purpose of child support is to allow the child to enjoy the same quality of life that they had when the child’s parents were together. Some parents try to avoid paying their fair share of these expenses by skipping child support payments. Failure to pay child support can have serious financial and criminal consequences.
Each year, some $14 billion in ordered child support goes unpaid in the United States. In order to combat this, penalties exist for parents who do not pay child support. People who chronically avoid child support payments may:
- Have their driver’s license suspended;
- Have their wages garnished;
- Have their tax refund intercepted;
- Be required to pay steep fines;
- Be banned from obtaining a passport;
- Be dismissed from military service; or
- Be imprisoned.
When a parent who is ordered to pay child support moves to a different state to avoid making child support payments, he or she may be convicted of a federal offense. The Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act (DPPA) is a federal child support law which seeks to dissuade parents from avoiding making child support payments. Under this law, parents who move out of state and neglect to pay support payments for at least a year and owe at least $5,000 can be prosecuted and convicted. The punishment for the first offense can include imprisonment for a maximum of six months and a second offense can result in imprisonment for up to two years. Those prosecuted under the DPPA may also be required to pay back child support payments.
Actively avoiding child support payments and simply being financially unable to pay child support are different in the eyes of the law. Sometimes, a parent cannot make child support payments because of a financial hardship like losing their job. If you find yourself unable to pay your child support, never just stop making payments. Instead, communicate with the other parent. If you cannot work out an arrangement with him or her, you may be able seek a child support modification through the court system.
Let Us Help
If you have further questions regarding child support law, contact an experienced DuPage County child support attorney to discuss your options. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation today.