While lawyers and judges are the ultimate legal experts, of course, I believe that every citizen should take the time to learn a little about law for several reasons. First, it is important to know your rights, and knowing them can come in handy if anyone ever accuses you of a crime you didn't commit or threatens you legally in another other way. Second, learning about your local, state, and federal laws can help you act as a better citizen. When election time comes around, you can then truly understand ever change in law being proposed by a candidate and whether it benefits society or not. I plan to share posts about law topics explained in plain English on my new blog, so you can come back often to sharpen your legal knowledge!
When you and your ex-partner are trying to figure out how you will raise your child, you might decide that it is cheaper to handle several aspects of your child custody arrangements out of court. For example, you might decide to come to a child support agreement on your own. While this might be more efficient and less expensive, there are several reasons why this might backfire.
Your Child Support Agreement Won't Be Enforceable
You will not necessarily be able to enforce your child support agreement if your ex chooses not to pay it. You will not be able to hold your ex in contempt of court. You may also find yourself in a situation where your child is spending more time with your ex than you had expected, and you may not be owed as much child support. However, there are already court processes in place to help determine how much your ex will need to pay in child support based on how much responsibility they have over your children.
The Consequences of Not Paying Child Support
When you have a court order for your ex to pay child support, the consequences of failing to do so can be much more severe than if you simply negotiated for a child support arrangement out of court. Your partner might have their driver's license suspended. They may have his wages garnished at work. They might face fines and stiff penalties. They will be unable to obtain a passport and may be dismissed from the military. They may even face jail time.
Moving to another state will not save your ex since they may then fall under federal penalties. The federal government will convict your ex if they have the ability to pay, chose to fail to pay, and have not paid for at least a year or owes more than $50,000 in back child support.
Situations Where Your Ex Can Escape Paying Child Support
In some cases, your ex may be able to escape paying child support due to financial hardship. However, your ex will need to communicate with you about their situation and will also need to communicate with the state. Your ex might be able to receive a child support modification. However, you may argue that your partner is not facing as much hardship as they are claiming. If this is the case, you'll need help from a child support lawyer.