Child support payments are court-ordered payments a parent must pay to financially support their child. Typically, the non-custodial parent must pay the child support payments. Owed/back child support payments are payments that were owed, but were not paid.

Do I Have to Pay Child Support?

Yes. The failure to pay child support can have serious consequences. The types of penalties incurred differs based on whether the parent was unable to pay or refused to pay. The Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act makes it a federal crime for a parent to willfully fail to pay child support payments. “Willful” behavior includes any actions that appear to be taken for the purpose of avoiding the payment of child support payments. This would include actions such as moving to another state in order to avoid paying child support payments.

However, additional criteria must also be met in order for the parent to be charged with a federal crime under the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act. For example, the parent must also have either failed to pay support payments for more than a year or failed to pay more than $5,000 in child support payments. Additionally, even if the failure to pay was not intentional, failing to pay child support can be serious. For example, failing to pay can result in an arrest warrant. In other words, failing to pay child support can lead to jail time for the non-custodial parent.

What are Federal Tax Refunds?

Federal tax refund money is money that is returned to you because you paid more in taxes than you owe. In short, federal tax refund is your money and you can spend it however you like. If you wish to use your federal tax refund money to pay owed child support, then you are free to do so.

What Happens if I Don’t Pay Owed/Back Child Support?

However, if you owe child support, the federal government can “intercept” your federal tax refund money and pay your owed/back child support. In fact, the federal government can collect a part or all of the non-custodial parent’s federal tax refund money. However, the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program only applies to parents who fall under certain criteria:

  • The non-custodial parent must owe $150 or more on a TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) case; OR
  • The non-custodial parent must owe $500 or more on a non-TANF case.

How Quickly Do You Need to Pay Back-due Child Support?

The child support order will include the due date of the child support payment. Any payment after the due date will be considered a late payment. It is in your best interest to pay by the due date listed on the child support order.

Should I Consult a Child Support Lawyer If I Want to Wait Until the Refund Comes In?

The failure to pay child support payments by the due date can result in serious consequences for the non-custodial parent. However, maneuvering through the various agencies and the court system may be a stressful experience. If you would like help in the negotiation process for an extended due date, consult a child support lawyer today.