There are countless opportunities for contentious issues when a couple divorces, and those that concern children and finances are common. If you have not been awarded physical custody of your minor child, you will very likely be ordered to pay child support. You should understand that the court system takes its obligation to the innocent victims of divorce very seriously, and so should you. Read on to learn more about the importance of following your child support order perfectly.
Pay or suffer the consequences.
In recent years, the courts have stepped up their efforts to ensure that those ordered to pay child support do so or suffer the relatively severe consequences, namely:
- Having your wages garnished
- Having a lien placed on your property
- Having your income tax refund seized
- Being charged with contempt of court
- Having your driver's license revoked
- Losing access to government assistance programs, such as food stamps
- Losing the ability to use government-sponsored loans, such as VA, FHA and USDA loans
- Arrest and jail
Not just a state matter.
Not only is it impossible to avoid your child support obligation by moving to a different state, you could be in even more trouble if it can be shown that you moved for that purpose. Child support enforcement is a federal responsibility, so the order from the judge will follow you no matter where you go, thanks to the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act.
If you cannot pay.
The last thing you want to do if you find yourself falling behind on child support payments is to just ignore it. It is in the best interest of the child for the enforcement agencies to work with you as much as possible to allow you to bring the account up to date, whether that be by spreading out your payments more or by other means. Whatever you do, contact the enforcement agency and work with them to resolve the issue to avoid the above punishments.
If your financial issues are more long term, you may need to take further action. The original child support ordered amounts were based on your salary and life at the time, and some of that may have changed. Contact a family law attorney like Campbell, Dille, Barnett & Smith, P.L.L.C. and request a child support alteration hearing, where you can plead your case and show that your situation has changed dramatically from the time of the order. For example, you may be able to get the obligation reduced for situations like a serious illness, job loss, a reduction in pay or work hours, etc.