Rapper Illustrates Penalties for Failing to pay Child Support

On behalf of The Law Offices of Cindy D. Sackrin posted in Child Support on Thursday, August 15, 2013.

Child support obligations should not be regarded lightly. However, for anyone struggling to meet support obligations, the legal process provides child support modification options to help.

Rapper DMX, who was once arrested in Florida, recently filed for bankruptcy. One of his debts includes $1.24 million in unpaid child support. The rapper reported $1 to $10 million in total debt and $50,000 in assets. Through representatives, DMX stated that this was his best option to regain his passport to be able to perform overseas. The rep also noted that DMX's previous management failed to pay his child support payments, which eventually led to him being ineligible for a passport. If a person owes more than $2,500 in child support, the State Department will not issue that person a passport.

In addition to the State Department's refusal to issue a passport, those who fail to make required child support payments may also face other penalties including wage garnishment, withholding of federal tax refunds, seizure of property, suspension of a business or occupational license or revocation of a driver's license. Jail is also a possible penalty. Since jail time limits the parent's ability to earn an income to make child support payments, it is generally only used as a last resort.

It is understood that sometimes circumstances change and a parent may experience difficulty meeting child support payments. In this situation, it is best not to ignore the payments but proactively seek a child support modification. Life events can sometimes be unpredictable, as many Florida parents know. The loss of a job, a change to household income or serious injury can all impact a parent's ability to meet child support payments. In these circumstances, the paying parent can request a change to the support agreement from the court.

Since changes to child support payments will usually not retroactively apply to delinquent payments (and because child support is generally not dischargeable in bankruptcy), it is best to act swiftly when a party knows that a child support modification will be needed. A family law professional will be able to help the party establish the need for modification so that monthly payments can be met.

Source: International Business Times, "DMX files for bankruptcy, owes $1.24 million in back child support" Treye Green, July 30, 2013

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