Available by Phone 24/7

What Happens if a Parent Does Not Pay Child Support?

If a parent has been ordered by a judge to make child support payments and fails to do so, the parent may face a range of consequences. The type of penalty can depend on which jurisdiction the child support was ordered, and whether the parent has been trying at all to meet these payments or is just being defiant. Here in the article below, we have answered several questions about what may happen if a parent does not uphold their obligation to make child support payments.

What happens if a parent refuses to pay?

In general, a couple of the more common first steps of action against a parent not paying child support, is to garnish wage and suspend license. It is also possible that the parent loses his or her right to get a passport. Some jurisdictions may even pass on tax refunds to the parent who is need of child support, but has not received rightful payments. Then, if the parent becomes seriously overdue and has accrued a fair amount in unpaid child support, he or she may face time in prison.

What is wage garnishment?

Wage garnishment is when a judge orders a portion of the parent’s paycheck to be removed before he or she has received it. The amount garnished may first be sent to a child support processing agency, before being given to the parent in need. Wage garnishment is a common way for the court to ensure payments are made in the full amount and on-time, especially if the parent is intentionally disregarding these obligations.

Why would the driver’s license be suspended?

A driver’s license may be suspended as a tactic to interfere with the paying parent’s life enough, that he or she may be motivated to pay. The hassle of going to a motor vehicle office, not having a reliable way to work, and perhaps having to pay licensing fees, may influence the parent into being cooperative. In some jurisdictions, the parent’s professional license may be suspended as well, perhaps creating an even bigger reason to follow child support orders.

Is jail-time often the last resort?

Once all other forms of repercussions have been attempted, the parent may face jail time. This penalty is not typically used lightly, and is only enforced when the parent owes a large amount of money to the other parent and is financially able to pay, but just outright refuses.

Can the children suffer if child support payments are not made?

Assuming the parent receiving these payments is handling the money responsibly, the child or children can suffer without this financial support. In some cases, child support may have been ordered in the first place largely due to the custodial parent’s lack of funds. The custodial parent may need these support payments in order to provide adequate food, clothing, medicine and other needs of the child. A parent who wants to seek revenge against the custodial parent by not paying child support, may in fact only be hurting their child’s quality of living instead. If you are going through a similar situation, a lawyer, like a family lawyer in Collin County, TX, relies on can help you through the legal process and answer all of your questions.

Contact Scroggins Legal for more information about family law.

Scroll to Top