If you owe child support and you are unable to pay it, you may believe that everything is fine as long as you don’t hear otherwise. You may feel that if you don’t “rock the boat”, you’ll catch up later “when things are better”.
Times are difficult financially. But when it comes to owing child support, it is a mistake to subscribe to the “no news is good news” theory.
People who are obligated to pay child support are called “Obligors” in legal terminology.
Obligors who don’t pay child support not only risk having a court case brought against them, but the parent who is supposed to be receiving the support (called an “Obligee”) can file a suit to have the arrearage (unpaid back support) made into a formal judgment by court order. The Obligee can then collect on this for years, even long after the child has turned 18 and graduated from high school.
Child support judgments can follow you in many ways such as showing up in your credit history, preventing you from renewing governmentally issued licenses, and taking your tax refund.
In addition, if you are not paying child support AND not exercising your visitation (a truly “absent parent”), you run the risk of your ex seeking termination of your rights in court.
Many adult children who have an absent parent who did not support them financially or emotionally bear the scars and carry the anger for years, or for the rest of their lives. They may feel hurt and abandoned, and feel that they owe complete loyalty to the parent who did support them. Therefore, it can be very difficult to begin a good relationship when the children are adults, even if you want to.
If you owe child support and don’t know what to do to make the situation right, you should seek a legal consult with a family lawyer who can tell you your options so that you can decide how to handle it.