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I Haven’t Been Paying Child Support: What Could Happen?

I Haven’t Been Paying Child Support: What Could Happen?

Neglecting to pay child support is never a good idea, especially with knowing how important that financial support is for the development of your child. In recent years, state and federal agencies have put in place more consequences for missing child support payments.

If there is a court order in place, but you have not been paying child support, you may face legal consequences. The consequences vary depending on your jurisdiction, but here are the main issues to be aware of.

Legal Action

The custodial parent has the right to take legal action against you for non-payment, and you should expect it. This will likely result in court proceedings. You will need to hire an attorney to represent you and you could be ordered to pay the overdue support on top of the custodial parent’s legal fees. The cost of defending your actions may be much more than what you owe to begin with. The Court may also issue a bench warrant for your arrest. If this happens, you may become temporarily incarcerated and ordered to pay a lump sum toward your child support based on your ability to pay in exchange for your release. Importantly, in practice, the Court never accepts “zero” as the amount you are able to pay toward your arrears. This could result in desperate calls to borrow money from friends or relatives to get out of jail.

The Court may also suspend your driver’s license, any professional licenses you may have, order you to perform community service, or pay additional financial sanctions.

The State of New Jersey and IRS will likely intercept your tax refunds to pay toward your arrears. The federal government may also refuse to renew your passport until you have paid off your arrears.

Levies could also be placed upon your bank accounts, retirement assets, and other financial assets.

Judgments for unpaid child support may also be issued against you, hurting or ruining your credit score.

Strained Relationships

Whether the inability to pay is intentional or not, failure to pay child support is likely going to strain the relationship with your coparent. Your relationship with an older child may become strained as well if your child can feel the financial impact of you failing to pay child support. Your coparent depends on receiving this child support to adequately provide for your child. If they don’t get these payments, they may need to make difficult financial sacrifices and resent you for it. This may also hurt your relationship with your child, who may feel a sense of abandonment.

Wage Garnishment

A court may order wage garnishment, which would mean a portion of your income would automatically be deducted to cover child support payments. Moving your residency or changing your job will not stop this process. The New Jersey Child Support Payment Center and Probation Division that is responsible for collecting child support will always find you eventually. On top of this, your employer may be annoyed with the extra work they will have to do to facilitate a wage garnishment and might start to think of you as someone who is not responsible. It may also cause you embarrassment at work.

Contact a Child Support Attorney from Moskowitz Law Group

These are just some of the major consequences people who fail to pay child support run into, but it is not the full list. It is crucial to address the issue of unpaid child support promptly, whichever side you find yourself on.

If you are unable to make payments due to financial hardship, it may be possible to request a modification order based on permanent and involuntary changes in your financial circumstances. If your coparent is behind on child support payments, you are entitled to enforcement of a child support obligation. Call a child support attorney at Moskowitz Law Group to discuss your situation.

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