What Happens If You Don't Pay Child Support?
After a divorce, if you were the primary breadwinner, you’re probably going to get slapped with having to pay child support. Most of the time, you’re going to be making monthly payments until the child is 18 years old or your ex-wife remarries. The trouble is that child support amounts are determined solely by what has happened in your financial history and not what may happen. If you lose your job in the next year, what are you supposed to do then? Can you just stop paying child support?
Of course, you can just flat-out refuse to pay child support, but legal repercussions may follow. If a court finds that your refusal to pay was willful, meaning that you had the means to pay the monthly sums but chose not to, you will be facing punishments similar to a criminal conviction. In some cases, you’d be in jail until you could pay off the child support owed, up to five years.
Beyond simple refusal, though, you might be strapped for cash and unable to pay child support due to a general lack of finance. There are a few procedures that the state could use against you to collect the child support, including:
- Wage Garnishment: An estimated 75% of all child support collected in Florida State is done so through wage garnishment. By taking money right out paychecks and passing it onto the other parent, child support payments are ensured while other necessities are not.
- Credit Collections: Credit collection agencies can be recruited to pursue any arrears, or money owed that was meant to be paid earlier. A consequence of this route is that failure to pay child support may damage your credit score.
- License Suspension: In certain circumstances, the state may temporarily suspend your license until you complete any owed child support payments.
- Withheld Winnings: If you owe your ex-wife for child support payments and you win a state lottery, or if the state owes you for tax refunds, you will not be granted any money. Additionally, it may take earnings straight out of such sources and give them to the owed party directly.
If you can’t pay for child support, whatever the reasons, it is clear that the odds are not in your favor, and that the law seems to be tilted towards your ex-wife. But the punishments the state can enact against you may just cripple you, rather than push you in the right direction.
If you’ve been unable to pay for child support and have been punished by the state, contact Tampa divorce Attorney Catherine W. Real. She can stand up for your rights as a divorced father and help you defend yourself from harsh punishments and unrealistic expectations. Don’t delay. Call right now.