Frequently Asked Questions: Consequences of Failing to Pay Child Support

For one reason or another, you may have neglected to make your child support payments. Sometimes this may be because you are unable to afford the payments you are obligated to make. In some cases, you may have had a change in circumstances that impacts your ability to make payments. If this is the case and you do not believe you will be able to continue making payments, or are facing legal action from the child’s parent, you may need to contact a child support lawyer as soon as possible. They will be able to assist you in answering the number of questions you have.  

Is there a way that I can avoid paying child support?

If you have children, you are expected to provide for them. Depending upon custody specifics, you may be required to pay child support. Getting out of your payments can be incredibly challenging. You may be able to petition the court to stop payments or modify the order in the event of extenuating circumstances. For example, if you have lost your job, your income has changed, you are being incarcerated, custody of your child has changed or you have had another child. However, there may be options which is why you should contact a child custody lawyer to review with you the laws within your state, the child support order and your specific situation. 

What should I do if I am unable to afford child support payments?

There are a variety of reasons that you may not be able to afford your child support payments. Failing to make your payments regardless of the reason could have you facing steep consequences. Start with communicating with your ex to see if you can work out an alternative agreement. However, it’s important to be aware that any agreement that is made must be approved by the court. Failing to do so could leave you in contempt of court, regardless of any oral agreement you and your ex have made. Your lawyer can help you file a child support modification with the court to reduce your payments. 

Could I be facing criminal charges if I do not pay child support?

Serious penalties and even criminal charges can follow if you do not follow a child support order that has been adopted by the court. You may be charged with a misdemeanor if you have not made payments in 12 months or owe more than $5,000 in child support. This could result in jail time and financial penalties. If you owe more than $10,000 or have not made payments for 2 years, you could be facing a felony charge which could leave you facing up to 2 years of jail time. 

Can my wages be garnished? 

If the other parent takes legal action against you, it’s possible that a portion of your wages could be taken to pay the child support that you owe. Once this occurs, a percentage of your wages may be garnished. You could be looking at 50-60% of your wages being taken to go to the child’s parent for child support. 

If you have not been making child support payments, you could be facing severe penalties. You will need a child support lawyer who can discuss your options with you. Don’t face the potential consequences alone. Contact a child support lawyer in Bloomington, IL to schedule an appointment. 
Thanks to Pioletti, Pioletti & Nichols for their insight into family law and child support.