Consequences for Non Payment of Child Support


People who are wanted for non payment of child support face a variety of potential repercussions. Punishment varies by state, but not paying court ordered child support will almost always result in negative consequences that can interfere with several facets of life.

Late or Very Late

The repercussions for not paying child support do not kick in immediately. In most states, there is a specific period of time that must lapse before a person is considered late enough with child support to merit punishment. This period of time is generally around 90 days, but can vary according to state child support laws and the child support agreement. Certain punishments can also depend upon the amount of money that is owed.

People who are wanted for non payment of child support face some real problems:

  • Child support that is ordered by a court is considered a legal obligation just like other debt. When this debt is not paid as agreed, the delinquent status can be reported to credit reporting agencies and make it difficult to get approved for additional credit. The delinquent status will also be seen by any potential employers who review credit reports prior to extending an offer of employment, which can certainly sway a hiring manager's opinion on whether a person should be hired or not.
  • Licenses can be revoked when child support payments are ignored, and not only drivers' licenses; licenses that are required for certain jobs can also be revoked until the child support payments are brought back up to current status. For example, a licensed massage therapist who is behind on child support payments may receive notification that his or her license will be suspended until the child support payments are brought to current status or a payment plan is agreed upon. Without a license, this person will be unable to continue as a massage therapist.
  • It can be impossible to obtain a passport for international travel when child support payments are overdue. It does not matter if the overseas travel is for business or pleasure; if it is discovered that the applicant is behind in child support payments, the application for a passport will be denied.
  • Income and money deposited into accounts with financial institutions can be taken by authorities attempting to collect overdue child support payments. This means that any money due to a person who owes overdue child support - such as a tax return or workers' compensation - can be taken by authorities and forwarded to the custodial parent. Money can also be directly withdrawn from bank accounts.

Obviously, it is not easy to get away with ignoring the financial responsbility of child support since the resulting punishments can interfere with daily life.

Jail Time for People Wanted for Non Payment of Child Support

Do people who fall behind in child support payments ever wind up going to jail as a result? This certainly can happen, especially when there have been repeated attempts to collect the payments and the person who owes the debt has not made any effort to work with authorities or agree to a revised payment plan. Child support payments cannot be ignored, even if the person genuinely does not have the financial means to pay. In this case, the person must stay in contact with authorities and petition for a revised payment plan instead of ignoring the issue and winding up in trouble.

When child support payments fall far behind, and attempts to collect go unanswered or are unsuccessful, a court may deem the person in contempt. This can result in legal action including incarceration. In other words, a person can indeed wind up in jail for not paying court ordered child support payments.

The Real Victims

When child support is not paid, the ones who suffer the most are the children who are supposed to benefit from the money. People who fall behind on child support payments should have a close look at the results of their actions, and should think less about possible legal repercussions and instead examine what the non-payment is doing to their children.

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Consequences for Non Payment of Child Support