Will I Lose Custody for Failing to Uphold My Child Support Obligation?

child with coins money playing with toy child support

If you’re the parent obligated to pay or entitled to receive child support, you may wonder what happens when child support payments are not remitted. Understanding the ramifications of failing to uphold a child support obligation is essential. Please continue reading to learn whether you can lose custody for not paying child support and how a compassionate Pensacola Child Support Lawyer can help you today. 

What Happens If I Fail to Pay Child Support?

In Florida, failing to pay child support can have severe consequences. If a non-custodial parent misses a child support payment or fails to pay the total amount, the custodial parent can enlist the court’s assistance to enforce the child support order. Depending on the reasoning for the non-custodial parent failing to uphold their child support obligation and how far behind they are in missed payments will determine the type of punishment they’ll face. The following include but are not limited to some of the common penalties that a non-custodial parent may be subject to for failing to uphold their child support obligation:

  • The court can place a lien for the amount of unpaid support against the parent’s property until the payments have been made. The property can be seized if the parent fails to do so before the lien period expires.
  • The court may suspend or revoke the parent’s driving privileges. In extreme cases, they may even revoke a professional license until payments have been made.
  • The missing payments can be reported to credit agencies as debt, impacting the parent’s credit score.
  • The parents can have their state tax refunds withheld.
  • The custodial parent may obtain a wage garnishment order from the court, which forces the non-custodial parent’s employer to withhold a particular portion of their paycheck until the amount of money they owe is completely paid off.
  • The court may hold a non-custodial parent in contempt of court for failing to comply with their maintenance payments, which can result in hefty fines and even jail time.

Can I Lose Custody if I Can’t Pay Child Support?

A significant concern for non-custodial parents who can’t make their child support payments is losing custody of their child. Child support is a form of financial assistance for the child’s overall well-being. Therefore, it does not have any bearing on custody arrangements. However, custody arrangements can influence how much child support needs to be paid, mainly based on how much time each parent has with the child. The court will not terminate parental rights based on the failure to pay child support alone. This means the custodial parent cannot withhold parenting time with your child if you fail to uphold your child support obligation.

If you’ve fallen behind on your child support payments, please don’t hesitate to contact a trusted lawyer from The Law Office of James M. Burns, who can help you initiate the modification process to have the original child custody order changed to reflect your current financial circumstances.