Parents have a legal responsibility to support their children, regardless of their current living situation. If parents can’t decide how to allocate support for their children, the court will make this decision for them, which often means ordering the non-custodial parent to pay child support to the custodial parent. This article explains the consequences of not paying child support in Oklahoma.
You Must Pay Child Support
As a rule, you must pay court-ordered child support no matter what your circumstances may be. You cannot, for instance, refuse to pay because you have a dispute with the custodial parent over visitation or how your children are raised. You may, however, seek a modification of your payments if there have been significant changes in your circumstances since your payment amount was last calculated. The loss of employment and serious illness, as well as a change in marital status or income of either parent, may be grounds for a modification.
Back Child Support
While future child support payments may be modified in the event that your financial circumstances change, it is virtually impossible to escape back child support. Back child support cannot be reduced retroactively nor can filing bankruptcy discharge it. Furthermore, back child support may even be enforced against your estate in the event of your death.
The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act
If you have been ordered to pay child support, you are legally required to make your payments, regardless of where you live. The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act allows for child support to be enforced across state lines. The Oklahoma Child Support Enforcement Division has access to federal resources that enables them to find you and begin enforcement procedures in the state where you are found.
The Consequences of Not Paying Child Support
You can face serious consequences if you do not pay your child support in Oklahoma. The following is a list of enforcement measures that can be used against those who are delinquent in paying their court-ordered child support:
- An order may be given to your employer to withhold income from your paycheck.
- Your federal and state tax returns may be intercepted.
- You may have liens placed on your property.
- Your name may be included on the Oklahoma Child Support Enforcement’s Most Wanted List.
- You may have licenses and permits suspended, including your driver’s license, professional licenses, recreational licenses and/or your business permits.
- You may also have your vehicle registration suspended, meaning the registrations for your car, motorcycle, boat, airplane, truck, etc.
- You can be denied a passport.
- You may be held in contempt of court and sentenced to jail time.
Wage garnishment is the standard way of paying child support in Oklahoma, unless the custodial parent agrees to other arrangements. If you quit your job to avoid paying child support, you may have your assets seized or be held in contempt of court and sentenced to jail time. In addition, the court may continue to use your previous income to calculate how much child support you must pay.
Free Consultation: Tulsa Child Support Attorney
Before you choose not to pay your child support, for any reason, you should consult with an experienced Oklahoma child support attorney to find a way to resolve the issues you are having before you are met with any of the above consequences.
For a free consultation about child support orders, enforcement or modifications, call Divorce of Tulsa Law Office at (918) 924-5526. You may also submit a question using the “Ask a Lawyer” form on this page. Enter your e-mail address or phone number and we’ll get in touch as soon as possible.