The parent with the most income from a career or when taking on financial projects is usually the one tasked with paying child support for the person that has primary custody. This is usually the father, but in some circumstances, the mother is the individual that must provide monetary support.

When this does not occur, it is possible to have certain legal consequences occur. Special situations are taken into account such as low-income or when the person has become disabled. However, it is illegal to willfully cause the lack of payment for child support through the actions of the responsible individual that is forced to pay through the courts.

Because the family that does not make the primary income needs the monetary assistance, the courts have initiated judgment when a decision is needed when divorce is completed. A child needs help for food, clothing and other essentials. This means a certain amount of funds must be provided each month by the person that has earned the most in wages and other revenue.

When this parent does not provide what has been mandated by the courts, he or she may be penalized by law with certain action. This could be additional fines, jail time or other options that are available to choose from by a judge. It is best to consult a family lawyer if any nonpayment is possible, but willful nonpayment should be avoided.

Charges and Penalties

Federal prosecution is possible for someone that has not paid child support intentionally even though he or she has been ordered by the court. This youth may live in the same or another state from the parent, and any payments that are late by more than one year could cost the individual up to $5000. This is classified as a criminal misdemeanor. The parent that has been convicted of this crime could serve up to six months in a prison. While this does not necessarily appear severe, the crime sticks to the person’s record and may follow him or her around when attempting to seek employment, have any contact with children or similar circumstances.

The child of a relationship does not have to live near the parent that owes the child support, he or she may have little or no contact with the mother or father and the young person could have never met the parent that is forced to provide support through a court order. However, any payments that have not been given for over two years could cost the adult over $10,000 in fines with a criminal felony issued for the violation. These convicted persons may face additional fines and up to a total of two years behind bars. Felonies are more severe, and it is possible that the parent may be required to attend classes or seek a counselor to determine if the behavior will continue.


It is not permitted for someone that is obligated in paying child support to cross state lines, flee the country or a similar action if the intent is to avoid the paying of any child support payments that may either be past due of at least one year or that accumulates to over $5000. If the parent is convicted of these crimes, he or she could face up to two years in prison. Unless something special is involved, the person faces state and local law enforcement and authorities. The federal government only enter the picture with certain circumstances. Additionally, all enforcement matters for child support must go through local and state levels before anything may escalate to the federal level for the other parent and the child affected.

It may be considered willful or intentional for a parent to avoid paying child support unless he or she contacts the correct department due to hardship, special situations or emergencies. This means the mother or father may be arrested and held until charges are issued or it is determined that a case may arise through the actions of the person. It is the crucial to hire a lawyer to assist with the matter. Any specific reasons support payments stopped must be addressed.

Legal Assistance with Child Support

If any issue arises where the parent may face criminal charges for the nonpayment of child support, a lawyer is usually both necessary and vital in assisting with the matter. Any special information as to why payments have not been completed must be disclosed, and evidence of these concerns is needed. With a lawyer, it may be possible to defend against these matters.