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What happens if you can’t make child support payments?

 

Most Louisiana parents work diligently to provide for their kids regardless of whether they are married, separated or divorced. In cases where the parents are no longer together, the court will more than likely order one parent to pay child support. The failure to make those payments as ordered could result in harsh penalties that may drastically affect the life of the non-paying parent.

When you first get behind on your child support payments, the state of Louisiana may garnish your wages. The appropriate state agency will contact your employer and have the payments taken out of your paycheck before you even see it. You could find that fines and additional fees were added to your payments as well. You could also discover that your driver’s license is suspended, which could seriously hinder your ability to work – especially if you drive for a living. 

Other, harsher penalties include the inability to obtain a passport. If you are in the military, you could face discharge from your military service for failure to pay child support. Sending you to jail is also an option, but most courts do not like to use this option unless they have to since you will not be able to work to catch up on your payments and continue to make regular payments.

If you are like most parents who are unable to make their child support payments, you probably experienced a significant financial loss due to an unexpected job loss, medical event or a serious accident. Under these circumstances, you may benefit from going before the court as soon as possible to explain your situation. It may be possible to reduce payments temporarily or come to some other arrangement that allows you some time to rectify your financial situation. If you wait too long in the hopes that the situation will get better soon, you could end up facing some or all of these penalties. 

Source: the spruce, "Failure to pay child support," Debrina Washington accessed Aug. 18, 2017

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