Are There Any Penalties For Missing Child Support Payments?

Child support is a monthly payment from one spouse to another that is meant to meet the needs of their child and maintain the quality of their life. If the spouse with child custody does not earn enough to support the child, the court orders the other spouse to provide monetary support through child support. 

A child support order is a legally bound agreement. If your ex-spouse fails to make these payments every month, it can affect your and your child’s quality of life. To make sure your child’s rights are protected, contact a gig harbor child support attorney today. 

Are there any penalties for missing child support payments?

Yes. The courts are strict regarding the welfare of the child. They believe that the child’s needs must be met first and the adult’s next. Even if the spouse is financially struggling, they must take care of their child. If not, the court takes strict action. 

There are various penalties for missing child support payments, ranging from mild to severe, depending on how long it has been since you stopped paying or how much you owe. If you go a long time without paying your child support dues, you commit a felony. 

Three factors decide when a child support delinquency becomes a felony. 

  1. You were previously accused of non-payment. 
  2. You owe more than $2,500 or are four months due.
  3. You were accused of trying to leave the state or country to avoid making payments. 

If these factors apply to your situation, you could be in big trouble and may be facing a bunch of severe penalties. 

What are the types of penalties for missing child support payments?

The penalties or consequences for child support can be severe. They are as follows: 

  • Arrest warrant
  • Fines
  • Garnishment of wages
  • Jail time
  • Lien on the house or a car
  • Exclusion from receipt of certain government benefits
  • Passport revocation
  • Finding of contempt of court
  • Suspension, cancellation, or denial of various licenses—professional, driver’s, etc. 

What must a person do if they cannot make the payments?

If you cannot make the payments because you have not been able to afford them due to changing circumstances, you must seek a modification of the child support order as soon as you can. Because the penalties are so harsh, you must not wait until the last moment to disclose that you currently have a lower or no income at all. 

Additionally, you may be required to show proof of your changed circumstances. For example, if you cannot pay because you lost your job, you are required to prove that you indeed lost the job and did not resign in order to stop making the payments. You must also show that you have no source of income to support your child. 

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