Child support is designed to help share in the financial costs of raising a child when one parent has the majority or full custodial rights. However, just because a court orders the non-custodial parent to pay child support doesn’t mean that the other parent actually will—and if you only have a non-binding “handshake agreement,” there’s no way to legally enforce that agreement. That’s why it’s so important to go through the courts when you split up with your child’s other parent.
If child support is part of your custody arrangements in Tavares, FL, you’re legally entitled to that money on behalf of your child. Here’s what to do if months have gone by and you still haven’t seen a court-ordered dime.
Failing to pay court-ordered child support has legal consequences
Anytime you have past-due court-ordered child support, the delinquent parent is said to be “in arrears.” Even if they’re having financial difficulties, they’re required to pay all the past-due amount or file for a child support modification. This obligation does not end until the child is 18 years old or as otherwise stipulated, even if the non-custodial parent moves out of state.
Non-payment of court-ordered child support comes with legal consequences, which can include wage garnishment and even jail time. The Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984 authorizes local district attorneys to help parents collect unpaid child support. The district attorney serves the non-custodial parent with papers, ordering them to come in and make arrangements for payment. If the other parent refuses, they could see legal fallout, including but not limited to withholding tax refunds, garnishing wages, suspending business, occupational or driver’s license and jail time.
If the non-custodial parent refuses to pay while living in a different state, they may be guilty of one or more federal felonies. Both state and federal courts take child support very seriously—if you’re the non-custodial parent, don’t risk these serious consequences by ignoring your support obligations.
What if I’m the non-custodial parent and I can’t afford child support payments?
If you’ve fallen behind on your child support payments due to a change in your financial circumstances, keep in mind that you’re still required to pay the full past-due amount, even if you get a modification for future payments. That’s why it’s so important to contact a family law attorney as soon as you lose your job, take a pay cut or experience other financial difficulties.
Your attorney will help you file to modify your child support obligations in Tavares, FL. This could be in the form of reduced payments or a temporary pause in payments (called a “stay”) so you can get back on your feet.
Keep in mind that the government is very serious about your obligation to help support your child—child support is one of the few types of debts that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.
To stay on top of your custody and child support arrangements in Tavares, FL, talk to the team at K.J. Law P.A. today.
Categorised in: Divorce Lawyers