Understanding the Consequences of Child Support Arrearages

Like any good parent, you are doubtlessly committed to supporting your child throughout his/her life. Divorce does not end your obligation to financially support your kids, but it may complicate it considerably. Unless you and the custodial parent have a private agreement, the support you provide will be enforced by the state. Even if you have no objection to paying child support, you may run afoul of the law if you are not careful. By understanding the consequences of falling behind and taking steps to meet all guidelines, you can avoid the most unpleasant consequences of not paying in a timely manner.

Top Consequences of Not Paying Child Support

Being past due on your child support obligation is known as an arrearage. This situation is to be avoided at all costs. Non-custodial parents who do not treat the situation seriously and fall behind may face the following consequences:

  • Fines – At first, late fees may be applied. Later, though, you may be charged court fees and fines.
  • Warrant – A civil or criminal warrant for your arrest may be issued if you fall too far behind.
  • Incarceration – If a warrant is issued and you are arrested, you must pay your arrearage or a certain percentage of it. If you are unable to pay, you may end up held in detention.
  • Garnishment – Your wages may be garnished to ensure you fulfill your child support obligation. In addition to regular payroll garnishment, your unemployment benefits or worker’s compensation benefits may be garnished too.
  • Loss of License – Depending on the jurisdiction, various licenses you possess may be suspended or revoked. These include professional licenses, driver’s licenses, and hunting licenses. Similarly, you may be turned down for a license if you are behind on child support payments.
  • Liens – A lien in the amount of your arrearage may be placed on property that you own.
  • Tax Refund Interception – Your federal and/or state income tax refund may be intercepted and applied toward your arrearage.
  • Passport Revocation – Your passport may be revoked if you fail to pay child support.
  • Loss of Benefits – Having a child support arrearage may negatively impact government benefits that you normally collect.

Needless to say, it is in your best interest to stay current on your child support obligation. Do so by making sure that you understand all the details of the court order. Also, know your rights. Legal representation is advisable if you are unsure how to proceed in your situation. If you live in or near Indianapolis, Garrison Law Firm can help.