You know that you have a court order specifying how much child support you have to pay, and the judge made it clear that it’s your obligation to provide financial support for your child.
You don’t mind paying for your child’s expenses, but you resent the fact that you have no discretion over how the money gets spent. You suspect that your ex uses the money for their own needs more than your child’s. No matter what, however, you can’t stop paying in protest, as doing so can carry some pretty harsh penalties.
Here are some of the things that could happen if you do withhold support:
You can expect a judge to garnish any child support you owe from your paycheck if you make a habit of being late on your payments. The court may attach fines and fees to what you owe, as well. A garnishment such as this may also lead to a forfeiture of any federal tax refund you are owed.
Loss of your license
Many jurisdictions suspend a parent’s license to drive if their child support payments lapse. They may only reinstitute a mom or dad’s driving privileges once the balance is no longer in arrears. Professional licenses can also be at risk over nonpayment of support.
The military doesn’t look too fondly upon service members who fail to meet their family or financial obligations. Your commander may dishonorably discharge you from your role in the armed forces if you stop making child support payments.
Passport revocation and denial
Unpaid child support is one of the many reasons why federal officials may deny your application for a new U.S. passport. Government agents may suspend or fail to renew an existing one for this same reason.
Failing to pay child support may result in either civil contempt of court charges or criminal charges that lead to jail time. Any parent who accumulates less than $10,000 in support may face misdemeanor charges. Moms and dads who owe over $10,000 may face felony charges.
What can you do if you think your child support obligation is unfair?
The stakes are high if you just stop paying what you owe. If you believe that your support obligation is unfair or the money is being wasted while your child goes without essential items, it may be time to seek a modification of your support. Working with an experienced advocate is key to your success.