Unexpected Consequences of Not Paying Child Support

Posted by Leslie SarjiOct 17, 20140 Comments

There are numerous consequences for failing to pay child support. The most well-known consequences include:

  • Court Could Issue a Warrant. A failure to pay outstanding child support payments can land you in jail, strap you with fines, or both. The warrant can be criminal in nature, meaning that you have broken the law, or civil in nature, which means that you are being held in contempt of court by violating a court order to pay child support.

  • Credit Score Reduction. Your credit score can be lowered if you fail to pay your child support.

  • Liens Could Be Placed on Real Property and Other Assets. Liens are a way to collect on outstanding debts. When you owe more than $1,000 in back child support payments, liens can be used to to secure your assets. Liens can be placed on bank accounts, insurance claims and awards including life insurance and workers' compensation, as well as real property and personal property (automobiles).

  • Garnishment of Wages. As a way to obtain child support from you, the state may take action by seeking to have your wages and other income garnished. This means that the state will take a percentage of your income before it is paid out to you in the form of a withholding. Garnishment can be made to various types of income including wages earned, interests earned on investments, salary, disability benefits, workers' compensation payments, annuities, retirement benefits, commissions and bonuses.

But there are quite a few lesser known consequences to be faced when you fail to pay your child support. Consider the following:

  • You Cannot Obtain a Passport. You are ineligible for a U.S. passport if you owe back child support in the amount of $2,500 or more. Applicants who are delinquent in paying their child support will not be issued a passport until payments are current with the state in which they are owed. This is because the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) places the names of delinquent child support payors onto a list. Passport Services submits all passport applications to HHS prior to issuance of a passport. If your name is on the list, your passport application will be denied. Once your child support is paid, it may take a few weeks for Passport Services to be able to permit the issuance of a U.S. passport to you.

  • Driver's License Suspension. The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend your driver's license if you fail to pay child support. This means that you will legally lose your driving privileges. You may be eligible to obtain a special route-restricted license until your child support payments are current. This special license will limit where you are allowed to drive. Specifically, you may drive to and from your place of employment, you may drive as it relates to your duties at your job, and you may drive to and from school, such as college classes.

Contacting a Charleston Child Support Attorney

Child support needs to be paid, on time and in full. If you need assistance obtaining child support payments from a delinquent payor, please contact the Charleston family lawyers at Sarji Law Firm, LLC today. Our team of lawyers has handled numerous divorces and child support cases. Please get in touch with us by calling 843-323-4341.

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