Divorce can be expensive. You no longer have someone else to share the costs of your mortgage, utility bills and insurance. In addition, you may also have additional expenses – in the form of alimony and child support. During the pandemic, insecure employment may be causing you even more financial strain.
If money is tight right now, you should be aware that you can face real consequences for failing to keep up with your child support payments and taking no actions to modify them to fit under your current circumstances.
What might happen to you?
If you continue failing to pay child support, you could potentially suffer from the following penalties:
- Employment: The North Carolina Child Support Services (CSS) can seek to have any professional licenses you have (e.g., doctor, realtor, plumber) suspended until you have resolved the issue.
- Travel: If you are more than 90 days behind in your payments, the CSS can petition the court to have your driver’s license suspended. They may also contact the U.S. Department of State and arrange to have your passport application denied – or your current passport revoked.
- Property: If you own property – in the form of real estate, vehicles, safety deposit boxes, etc. – the court can place liens against this property and seize it if you continue to fail to pay what you owe.
- Income: If you are receiving income through wages, tax refunds, workers’ compensation or unemployment benefits, this money can be siphoned off and redirected toward your child support debt.
- Credit: Child support debt – like any other debt – can be reported to credit bureaus. This can negatively impact your credit score by 100 points or more.
- Contempt: If the court decides you have the ability to pay child support, you could be held in contempt – and face possible fines and jail time.
What should you do?
If you have experienced job loss or another involuntary change in circumstances during the pandemic, it is best to report this change right away. You may be able to seek a child support modification to accommodate your current situation.
An experienced attorney can help you file this request in a timely manner to ensure that you do not fall further behind on your payments.