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Consequences for failing to pay child support

Most Ohio noncustodial parents are conscientious about meeting their child support obligations. They know that their financial contributions are important to ensuring that their children have what they need to live a safe, functional, happy life.

Unfortunately, some parents fail to meet their financial responsibilities. In some cases, these failures may be due to personal circumstances that make it difficult for them to afford child support payments. In such cases, parents may work together through the court system to set appropriate amounts through a modification of the order.

In situations where a parent willingly fails to pay child support, however, he or she may be subject to both civil and criminal penalties. One issue that often arises, however, is that a parent may leave the state, making it difficult for the other parent to collect support via the state court system. The federal Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act was passed in 1998 to address this issue, as the act makes it possible to criminally prosecute parents who cross state lines in hope of avoiding having to make payments.

Individuals who are convicted under the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act may be subject to imprisonment. A first offense may result in a jail sentence of six months or less, a second conviction can lead to up to two years in prison. In addition, the parent will be required to pay any support obligations that are in arrears.

Child support can often be a contentious family law issue. Many noncustodial parents are simply unable to meet their obligations due to an unexpected financial downturn such as a job loss or a medical emergency. Those who find themselves in this situation may want to meet with an attorney to see what options may be available.

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