When your ex-spouse fails to pay child support there are a number of remedies from wage garnishment to revoking a driver’s license to ensure compliance. A parent may also be held in contempt of court and face legal consequences. Even when spouses live in separate states, matters related to past due child support are typically handled at the state and local level that has jurisdiction over the case. However, under certain circumstances, failure to pay child support may also be a federal crime.
• If a parent does not pay court ordered child support for a child who lives in another state, they may be in violation of 18 U.S. Code § 228 if such an obligation remains unpaid for longer than a year or is greater than 5K, often charged as a misdemeanor.
• If the parent willfully fails to pay a child support obligation for a child that lives in another state, and continues to ignore their responsibility for more than 2 years or exceeds 10K in arrears, they may be charged with a felony.
• If a parent is not paying child support and decides to move out of state or the country to intentionally get out of making payments that have accumulated for over a year or exceed 5K, they are in violation of the federal statute.
Whether you are a recipient of child support who is not receiving regular payments or a payor that has fallen behind, it is important to seek legal advice to get child support payments back on track. If you have encountered financial difficulties and wish to reduce child support or other support payments, in some cases a modification of a support order may be possible.