I cannot answer this question for all jurisdictions, but I can tell you how the law applies in the jurisdiction where I practice divorce and family law (Utah).
Many things can happen. What follows is not an exhaustive list of consequences of not paying child support, but it’s a pretty good one just the same. Not paying child support as court-ordered can result in:
- damage to your negative credit score/reports
- judgments can be issued for the unpaid amount of child support, which judgment can be collected by various means, including
- garnishing wages to collect arrearages (“arrearage” means an amount of money owed that is past due for payment);
- garnishing funds in your bank or other financial accounts;
- additionally, the judgment can include interest on the unpaid judgment amount and the costs of collection, if any.
- the delinquent child support obligor (an “obligor” is a person obligated to make payments) being held in contempt of court and then penalized (also known as “sanctioned”) for noncompliance with the court order. Those sanctions can include:
- a fine not exceeding $1,000;
- incarceration in the county jail for up to 30 days; or
- both a fine not exceeding $1,000 and incarceration in the county jail for up to 30 days
- an award of attorney’s fees in favor of the prevailing party against the party who is found in contempt,
- having one’s licenses revoked until the child support arrearages are fully paid. Which licenses, you may ask?:
- driver’s license
- professional license(s)
- hunting, fishing, and other recreational licenses
- the delinquent obligor being criminally prosecuted for what is known as “criminal nonsupport”
- the Office of Recovery Services can:
- intercept the delinquent obligor’s state and/or federal income tax refunds;
- cause use of the delinquent obligor’s passport to be suspended or cause it to be revoked until the arrearages are paid.
- liens can be issued against your vehicle or other kinds of property.
Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277