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Possible Penalties for Not Paying Child Support

Father looking down at young child

Failure to fulfill your child support obligations can lead to serious legal consequences, including – in extreme situations – jail time. If your finances have changed significantly since your original child support order, you may be eligible for a child support modification.

Child support is a court-ordered payment that’s intended to serve at the payor’s contribution to supporting his or her children throughout their childhoods. Generally, the parent with the visitation schedule pays child support to the primary custodial parent to help assuage the cost of providing for the children on a day-to-day basis. Because the State of North Carolina takes parental rights and responsibilities very seriously, failure to meet one’s child support obligations can lead to significant penalties. 

Your Financial Circumstances

If you’ve lost your job, have been laid off or furloughed, or are missing work due to an accident or illness, it can be very difficult to keep up with your child support payments. While this is easily understandable, it doesn’t alter the fact that you have a legal obligation to pay the amount of child support ordered by the court. If fulfilling this obligation is no longer sustainable, you can file a motion to modify child support with the court, which is always the best path forward and the surest way to avoid serious legal consequences. 

Your Financial Circumstances

If you miss one or more of your child support payments, your children’s other parent can request help from Child Support Enforcement Services (CSE), which can petition the court for a legal remedy. The penalties that can potentially be levied against you include:

  1. Income from your paycheck, Social Security benefits, workers’ compensation, or unemployment benefits can be withheld.
  2. A lien can be placed on your home or business.
  3. Your child support payments can be garnished from your state and/or federal taxes.
  4. Your driver’s license can be suspended – along with any professional, sporting, and/or recreational licensure. 
  5. You can lose your passport.
  6. You could face significant fines.
  7. You could face jail time.

While some of these consequences are severe, they are typically meted out according to the circumstances at hand. For example, if you are making a good faith effort to live up to your child support obligations but miss a payment, it’s a very different matter than if you are not paying child support out of spite or vindictiveness. 

Be Proactive

If you foresee that you’re going to have a problem making your child support payments, don’t wait until the situation becomes dire before taking action. Keep up with your payments as best you can – a partial payment is better than no payment – and discuss your legal options with an experienced Attorney today.  

You Need A Dedicated Charlotte Child Support Law Firm On Your Side

If you’ve experienced a financial setback that leaves you unable to fulfill your child support obligations, don’t put off seeking the professional legal counsel you need. The dedicated attorneys at Blood Law in Charlotte are committed to helping you obtain the child support modification you need to remain timely and compliant with your payments. Family law is our focus, so please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at (704) 286-0570 today.