Did you know that failing to pay child support is a federal crime? If your ex-partner is legally obligated to provide support payments through a divorce agreement or something of that nature, they can be convicted and sentenced to pay fines or serve up to 2 years in prison.
<aside> 💡 Specifically, here are the rules set by 18 U.S.C. § 228.
if the payment is past due for longer than 1 year or exceeds the amount of $5,000, the violation is a criminal misdemeanor, and convicted offender face fines and up to 6 months in prison.
If the child support payment is overdue for longer than 2 years, or the amount exceeds $10,000, the violation is a criminal felony, and convicted offenders face fines and up to 2 years in prison.
It can be difficult if your ex-partner refuses to pay or doesn't follow through with their payment obligations. It's quite common for people to stop making their payments after a while and cutting off all communication entirely.
File a Notice: If you've tried reaching out through email/text but haven't received a response, it's time to take a more formal measure. You can file an official notice or demand letter that outlines the payment(s) they owe, their legal obligation to make those payments, and the consequences for failing to do so.
Contact your local gov't / child support help agency
Your local county offers child support agencies and resources who can help you get in touch with your ex-partner and enforce your care agreement if they are being uncooperative.
Take the Case to Court / File a Motion for Contempt
The last option is to escalate the case to court. If your ex-partner refuses to fulfill their payments after both steps above, it's time to take legal action. If they're convicted, they'll be subject to a fine and/or jail time. You can take the case to both civil and criminal courts.
If you are the non-custodial parent and you've accumulated child support debt, DoNotPay can help. Most state governments have debt forgiveness policies when it comes to child support arrears and the interest you owe on late payments. As long as you can prove your financial hardship or prove that you have been trying to responsibly make the baseline payments, DoNotPay can help you apply to lower the debt you owe.
Don't worry, DoNotPay can help! If you aren't sure how to write and file a demand letter on your own, DoNotPay's Child Support Payment product can automatically do it for you. Not only will it generate a demand letter specific to your case with references to federal laws, but it will also email or mail the letter to your ex-partner for you.
If you're looking to lower the amount of child support debt you owe, DoNotPay has your back. We've compiled all of the state requirements and debt forgiveness application form, so we can automate the application process on your behalf.
Tell us more about the payment schedule, including the amount and frequency of the payments, the last payment they made and number of missed payments, and how much they owe you in total.
Confirm your contact information and select whether you want us to mail or email the letter on your behalf. Choose how you would like to receive the payment and verify your signature.*
And that's it! DoNotPay will file the demand letter on your behalf. If you don't hear back or see the payment within 2 weeks of delivery, you can escalate the case to court.
Answer a series of questions about your current financial situation and your past payments to help guide the application.
Confirm your current contact information, and enter the location of the county court that established your child support agreement, so we can mail your request on your behalf!*