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Back child support can lead to federal charges

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2022 | Blog, Child Custody

If you currently owe unpaid child support or you have serious concerns about your ability to continue making payments on time, it is pivotal to understand the possible consequences that you could face if you fall behind. Many parents realize the consequences they could face at the state level. For example, a parent could lose his or her driver’s license and face other state-imposed penalties. However, it is crucial to realize that unpaid child support can lead to federal charges, in some instances.

Aside from reviewing examples of back child support becoming prosecuted at the federal level, it is important to understand the serious penalties associated with these offenses.

When does the federal government handle back child support?

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, some people face federal prosecution as a result of unpaid child support. For example, failing to pay child support ordered by a court in a different state, owing more than $5,000 in back child support and failing to pay support for more than one year can result in charges handled at the federal level. Moreover, unpaid child support becomes a felony if the parent owes more than $10,000 in back child support or fails to pay support for over two years.

Furthermore, those who owe over $5,000 in back support or have failed to pay support for over a year and leave the country or move to another state to avoid child support could face federal prosecution.

What are the federal penalties for back child support?

If convicted of a criminal misdemeanor, a parent could face up to six months behind bars and fines due to unpaid child support. However, those convicted of a criminal felony could face two years behind bars. In order to avoid harsh penalties at the federal and state level, it is imperative to stay current on child support and address back child support swiftly.