WHAT HAPPENS IF ONE FAILS TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT IN ALABAMA?
In Alabama, both of a child’s parents are responsible for meeting the child’s financial needs. When parents are no longer in a relationship with one another, the custodial parent meets the child’s financial needs by having the child in their physical care. The noncustodial parent meets the child’s financial needs through the payment of child support.
Child support helps ensure the child has a safe and suitable place to live, food, and clothing. It can also be an important factor in ensuring the child’s other needs, such as educational and entertainment expenses are met. Unfortunately, sometimes a noncustodial parent fails to pay the required amount of child support. When that happens, the custodial parent may want to seek enforcement of the child support order.
There are a number of penalties that can be levied against a parent who fails to make their required child support payments. Income can be withheld from the parent’s wages. The delinquencies can be reported to credit bureaus. Tax refunds can be offset to cover the delinquent payments. A person can be denied a passport or have their passport revoked. A lien can be placed on the delinquent parent’s property. A delinquent parent’s driver’s license or professional licenses can be revoked. Finally, if the delinquent parent flees the state, the case may be federally prosecuted.
These are serious consequences that could affect a parent’s life for years to come. In the end, it is much better to pay what you owe in child support on time and in full. If circumstances in your life prohibit you from doing so, then you may want to seek a modification of your child support order as soon as possible. If a motion for a modification of child support is successful, it could allow the noncustodial parent to pay an amount that they can afford, so that the child does not suffer. Family law professionals can guide parents in these matters.