Child support ensures that the child’s quality of life remains unaffected by the parents’ divorce. These payments are made from one spouse to another to take care of the child’s needs and ensure they have everything they need. It can cover a wide range of things, from clothing to medical insurance.
As you can guess, child support payments are crucial for a child. Not paying them or paying less than the decided amount can affect the child’s life. The court is pretty strict about child support payments or anything that affects the child of a divorce. Thus, naturally, the penalties of missing these payments can be severe. A gig harbor child support attorney can help if you missed a few child support payments.
Are there any consequences of not paying child support?
Yes. If you miss child support payments, you may have to face legal repercussions. The severity of the penalties usually depends on how long you have not paid your dues and how big the amount is. Some of the penalties for the non-payment of child support may include the following:
- Denial of tax refunds
- Finding of contempt of court
- Arrest warrant
- A lien placed against your property, including your vehicle
- Exclusion from receipt of certain government benefits
- Revocation of passport
- Suspension or revocation of various professional licenses.
As you can guess, a minor penalty is a fine. However, if you go too long without paying, you could lose your house and car. People usually receive a Notice Of Delinquency when they are 15 days late for the payment. The moment when penalties start to kick in is on the 20th day of non-payment.
It is a federal crime to willfully not pay child support payments.
Steps to protect yourself from penalties
If you have fallen behind on payments due to changes in your financial conditions, do not panic. Speak with the other parent about why you are late and explain your issue. Being silent about it and simply not making the payments without communicating with the other parent can worsen things.
Another tip to follow is to pay as much as you can. If the decided amount is $1,500 and you only have $500, make the payment anyway. Something is better than nothing. This will show the other parent that you are trying your best to give whatever you can and help you in court. The court will see that you are trying instead of paying nothing.
The next step is to ask for a modification. You may discuss this with the other parent first. Even if they disagree, you can seek help from the court. The court will analyze your situation to determine whether you are actually struggling to make payments.
A gig harbor attorney can help you gather the evidence you need to prove your changed financial situation. They can develop strategic arguments and defenses to protect your rights.