Under no circumstances can a parent withhold child support. This means that if you are required to pay child support, you must do so regardless of custody or visitation arrangements.
Some parents who lack either custody or visitation rights don’t see the point in paying child support. They may question why they’re financially supporting a child with whom they may have little or no contact.
While it can be emotionally frustrating to be in this situation, you are not free from your obligation to financially support your child.
Failure to Pay Child Support Is a Crime
When a parent ordered to pay child support fails to do so, they can face criminal liability. In most cases, however, criminal warrants are only issued when someone owes a significant amount of unpaid child support.
If the court finds that someone had the resources to pay child support and willfully refused to pay, then they could be held in contempt of court. That means facing up to a year in jail and/or up to $2,000 in additional fines.
What You Can Do If You Can’t Afford Child Support
You can avoid criminal liability for not paying child support if you are legitimately facing financial hardship. That said, your obligation to pay doesn’t stop and any child support debt you accrue never goes away – not even bankruptcy can eliminate child support debt.
If you are unable to afford child support due to financial hardship (such as a job loss or reduction in income), you can petition the court for a modification of child support. This can result in a temporary pause on child support payments or reduce your child support obligation. Keep in mind, however, that you are responsible for paying your original child support amount while your case is pending.
Contact an Attorney for Assistance
If you are struggling with child support, hiring legal representation can help you reach a better outcome. The Law Offices of Andrea Schneider can guide you through the legal process and advise you of your legal options. With our assistance, you can overcome legal obstacles involving child support and other family law matters.
For more information, contact The Law Offices of Andrea Schneider today.