Should I Stop Paying Child Support If I Can’t See My Kids?

young child holding her parent's hand, father daughter, mother daughter, child spending time with parent

If you do not have custody of your children but are required to pay child support, your situation may feel extremely unfair. Why pay child support if you can’t even see your children? Although your feelings are valid, you have a legal obligation to pay child support even if you don’t have physical custody of your kids. Court orders are enforceable, so don’t assume you can get away with not paying child support just because you don’t have custody of your children.

Unfortunately, many non-custodial parents have particular issues when their ex doesn’t let them see their kids. If that is the case for you, you must continue paying child support but are advised to get legal representation to help you enforce your custody order. If the judge finds that your ex violated the custody order or purposefully isolated you from your children, they may legally order your ex to let you see your kids or even transfer custody to you.

Whatever situation you are in, do not stop paying child support even if you can’t see your kids, whether it’s because of court orders or your ex’s malicious behavior. Hiring a good lawyer will allow you to navigate your situation properly and help you understand which route is best for you.

What Happens If I Don’t Pay Child Support?

Are you adamant about NOT paying child support? The Office of Child Support Services has a variety of enforcement tools that can and will be used against you if you willfully failed to pay child support. They include but are not limited to:

Administrative Offset Program: If you are 30 days late in paying child support payments totaling $25 or more, the federal government will intercept federal payments you receive in order to pay the late child support obligations. Federal payments can include small business loans and federal retirement benefits.

Passport Denial: If you owe past-due child support payments totaling $2,500 or more, which include your cumulative arrears and cash medical support, then you will be unable to obtain or renew a passport until the arrears are paid.

Insurance Intercept: If your insurance company is making a settlement on your claim of $3,000 or more, they will first research your name to ensure you don’t owe $500 or more of child support. If they find that you do owe $500 or more in child support, the insurance company will pay your insurance proceeds in whatever amount you owe to the RI Family Court and notify you. You will have a chance to challenge the hold if you wish to.

Credit Bureau Reporting: The government will inform consumer reporting agencies of your child support arrears, which may badly affect your credit. You may contest this action when you get a written notice 10 days before your information is released to such agencies.

Lottery Intercept: If you hit the jackpot and won $600 or more, you may want to think twice before spending it. If you owe $500 or more in child support, the government will notify the Director of the State Lottery, and your winnings will be used to offset the amount of past-due child support. From there, you will receive the remaining balance of your lottery winnings.

Motion to Adjudge in Contempt: If you don’t pay child support, the Office of Child Support Services may file a Motion to Adjudge in Contempt, meaning you may be sentenced to jail if the court finds that you willfully failed to pay child support despite being able to do so.

License Suspension: If you are 90 days behind on child support payments, your license may get suspended or revoked. This includes your driver’s license, professional license, and business or occupational license.

Child Support Recovery Act: This Act authorizes the government to prosecute you and, upon conviction, impose fines and sentence you to 6 months in prison or 2 years in prison for a subsequent violation. You may only experience this consequence if:

  • you had the ability to pay child support; and
  • you willfully failed to pay the past-due child support; and
  • the amount has been unpaid for longer than 2 years; or
  • the amount is greater than $10,000; and
  • the child lives in another state.

State Criminal Prosecution: You could get a felony charge if you incur $10,000 in past-due child support obligations or fail to pay child support for over 3 years ― despite having the means to do so. If convicted, you could go to jail for up to 5 years.

Bonds: The Rhode Island Family Court may require you to post a bond, which will be used to satisfy or cover future child support payments.

Body Attachments: A body attachment is a civil warrant for a person’s arrest, and you may receive this if you fail to appear in court after being served with a witness subpoena and a summons to appear in court. Keep in mind that if you have an outstanding body attachment you get detained for a traffic violation such as speeding, a police officer will see your name in the database and send you to the Adult Correctional Institute (ACI) until the family court can handle your case.

Equip Yourself with Legal Representation Today

As you can see, the consequences of not paying child support, even if you feel like it’s justified, outweigh the benefits. You are not getting back at your ex but rather hurting your children and yourself by not paying child support. Don’t let this happen to you. If you are behind on child support payments or have questions about enforcing your custody and visitation orders, please don’t hesitate to arrange a consultation with us online or at (401) 305-2934!

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