Although most states don’t regulate how child support is used, it’s meant to provide for a child’s needs. This ranges from housing, food, clothing, and even extracurricular activities.

If you have gone through the divorce process with your divorce lawyers and the court has made a ruling on the amount you are supposed to contribute as child support, it’s up to you to make the payments, failure to which you stand to be punished.

Failure to pay child support is a federal offense, and you face plenty of penalties as punishment for not paying child support. Some of these nonpayment penalties include:

Suspension of the driver’s license

When a parent falls behind in making the support payments, most local child support agencies report to the motor vehicle division, making it easy for the state to get in touch with you and confirm it with you.

You should explain to the state the reason for the nonpayment, but if you continue playing cat and mouse games, you risk getting your license suspended.

Wage garnishment

When you go for several months without paying the court-ordered child support, and you aren’t cooperating, the state can get in touch with your employer and take the support payments from your paycheck.

The state does this after getting a Default Judgment and Wage Garnishment Order from the court. After obtaining the money from your employer, it then transmits it to the custodial parent.

You should note that sometimes the garnishment includes seizure of state and federal tax refunds.

Passport denial

Sometimes the state can prevent you from obtaining or renewing your passport, so you can’t travel for work or leisure.

Dismissal from military service

If you are in the military, the state can request your dismissal for failing to make the payments. As you can guess, this can be detrimental as you will have lost your source of income.

Fines and penalties

Some states will charge you additional fines and penalties for unpaid child support. This means if you fall behind in making the regular payments, you can end up owing tens of thousands of dollars, which sinks you deeper into debt.

Jail time

This is often the last resort after all efforts to make your pay child support have failed. The sentence’s duration varies depending on the state, but in most cases, you are released as soon as you pay child support arrears.

You should prevent the issue from getting to this level as you can’t work during the time of your incarceration, which can mean losing your job.

You can destroy your credit.

The child support enforcement agencies can provide information to the credit bureaus about your failure to pay child support, triggering your credit score to take a nosedive.

You can face felony charges.

If you fall more than $10,000 behind in making the child support payments, the state can file felony charges against you, and you can face heavy fines or even up to two years in prison.

What to do when you can’t pay child support

If you are facing a financial hardship so that you can’t continue making the child support payments as you used to, don’t just stop making the payments. Instead, work with your child support lawyers Fairfax VA, go in front of a judge, and request a review and modification of your child support.

You should note that the changes can’t be made retroactively, so move with haste to request a modification as soon as you find out you can’t pay child support.

If you can’t afford a family law attorney, get in touch with the child support enforcement where you own the child support, and if you have been on good terms, they will guide you through the process and even link you to the legal resources.