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What Happens If You Don’t Pay Child Support?

Date:
By Liz B. Gatsby
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What happens if you dont pay child support in us

If you don’t pay child support, there are a lot of legal options available to you. Depending on your situation, you could face penalties such as jail time or fines.

The government works with the courts to make sure parents receive financial assistance to meet their children’s needs. It also helps enforce court-ordered child support payments, so the children’s lives aren’t affected by nonpayment.

1. Conviction

If you don’t pay child support, you may be convicted of a crime. This is because child support is a court order and failure to pay can be considered “contempt of court.”

A conviction refers to a formal judgment entered by a court. A person can be convicted of a crime by pleading guilty, nolo contendere, or by going to trial in front of a judge or jury.

When it comes to failure to pay child support, the laws vary by state but are generally aimed at punishing parents who ignore their obligations. The longer a parent is behind in payments, the higher the penalties.

2. Suspension of License

Your license is an important tool that allows you to get around safely. But it can be suspended or revoked for reasons like not having insurance, too many points on your driving record, or failing to pay traffic tickets.

All 50 states impose license restrictions for child support violations, including indefinite suspensions. It can be hard for a non-custodial parent to afford paying support, especially when they are already struggling financially.

This can be particularly devastating for low-income people. It also creates a vicious cycle of debt and punishment that burdens families and communities. In response, 20 states have passed laws to curb debt-based driver’s license suspensions.

3. Garnishment

Garnishment is a process by which a creditor legally requires your employer to withhold part of your disposable income to pay off debts you owe. It can happen for a variety of reasons, including unpaid child support, taxes, delinquent federal student loans and consumer debts like credit card balances or medical bills.

If you don’t pay your debts, a garnishment can result in decreased disposable income, a significant drop in your credit score and locked funds. Luckily, you can work with your creditors to avoid garnishment and negotiate a reasonable payment plan.

You can also file an objection to garnishment and contest it in court. This is a great way to reduce the financial impact of garnishment and show that you are struggling financially.

4. Seizure of Tax Returns

The IRS has the power to seize your tax returns and other assets. This is done in an attempt to collect money from you that is owed to them for back taxes.

The seizures can be in the form of a levy on your bank account, a garnishment of your wages or retirement accounts and even your home.

If you get this notice, it is a good idea to contact a tax professional. They can help you navigate the process and determine the best solution for you and your assets.

You can also appeal the seizure of your assets at a collection due process hearing. This hearing is held with the Office of Appeals and gives you an opportunity to argue your case for why the seizures should not be made.

5. Jail Time

In some states, a parent who misses child support payments can be sentenced to jail. Depending on the amount of support that is overdue, this can vary from 48 hours to more than 10 years.

Those who fail to pay court-ordered child support can also be charged with a contempt of court offense. This can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the specific details of each case.

Section 228 of Title 18 of the United States Code makes it illegal to willfully fail to pay child support if the payment is past due for more than 1 year or if it exceeds the amount of $5,000. If the payment is overdue for two years or more, or if it exceeds $10,000, the crime can be a felony and the offender could face up to two years in prison.

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