Many parents experience financial hardship. However, children shouldn’t suffer as a result.
It’s a federal offense not to pay court-ordered child support in the United States. Yet, less than half of custodial parents receive full payment.
Five potential consequences for the failure to pay
Rather than view child support as an unfair contribution to your ex, remember you have a responsibility to provide for your children – no matter the circumstances that pulled you apart.
Courts consider multiple factors when determining support amounts, including your ability to pay. So, what might happen if you fail to follow through?
- Wage garnishment. The state could have your employer withhold money from your paycheck.
- Passport denial. Delinquent child support payments could limit your travel opportunities, whether for work or personal purposes.
- License suspension. Pay your child support on time to maintain driving privileges. Meanwhile, keep in mind business, professional and occupational licenses could also be at risk.
- Imprisonment. Although you can’t work while behind bars, jail time is a possible penalty.
- Decreased credit. Past-due amounts can be reported to credit bureaus and affect future borrowing opportunities for housing, transportation, education – perhaps even limit job options.
While you may also anticipate a lien on your property, your situation doesn’t have to become this complicated.
Do all you can
Many of life’s challenges are out of your control. Despite obligations to your kids, unexpected financial hardships can arise.
At some point, a child support modification may be in the best interest of all involved. Should circumstances change after orders are in effect, don’t hesitate to get the help you need to provide for your children to the best of your ability.