What Happens if You Fail to Pay Child Support?

On Behalf of | May 30, 2023 | Firm News

Child support is a critically important obligation between parent and child to ensure and directly support the child’s well-being. However, parents sometimes fall behind on their child support payments because they cannot pay, or in some cases, they do not want to pay.

Child support orders are mandatory

Child support is an order of the court, meaning it is not optional and must be paid on time.

If months go by without making child support payments, the child support unit and county attorney’s office will likely get involved to enforce the child support order and collect arrears (i.e., past due support),

Enforcement actions can also include:

  • Fines and seizure of assets
  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Felony charges and contempt of court proceedings
  • Arrests and jail time
  • U.S. passport revocation or denial

Change in circumstances

If the obligor (the parent ordered to pay) experiences a change in circumstances (e.g., the loss of a job) that affects the obligor’s ability to pay the court-ordered support, it is vitally important that the obligor notify their attorney and/or the other parent.  With good communication and transparency, new payment options can often be arranged before the court penalties for late payments become too severe.  New stipulations should always be put in writing.

If a stipulated agreement cannot be reached, it is also possible to return to court and request a child support modification order from a judge.

In either case, parties should consult with their attorneys on all matters of child support and child support modification to find the best legal solution.