For divorced couples with children in Washington State, one parent has to live apart from their children, with only visitation rights. One parent may pay child support, while the other gets physical custody. Both parents will try hard to ensure that the child's upbringing is unaffected, but sometimes things do not always work out as planned. The non-custodial parent may not be able to afford child support payments or may not want to make child support payments, which may adversely affect the child.
According to a U.S. Census Bureau report, one-third of all child support dollars owed to custodial parents goes unpaid. In 2011, non-custodial parents in America owed $14.3 billion in child support.
The reason for non-payment of child support varies. Some parents want to pay child support, but may be unable due to financial hardship. They may have lost their jobs or may be finding it difficult to find work. However, others may not want to share the financial responsibility of the child's upbringing, so they just do not pay.
Whatever the reason, the penalties for non-payment are the same. Failure to pay child support can lead to arrest, where the parent cannot earn an income in jail, and an arrest record may make it even harder to find employment.
If a parent's financial circumstance changes, applying for modifications of child support may be the best option when faced with financial hardships, which affect the ability to make timely child support payments. Consulting a legal professional with knowledge of child support laws in Washington State may be beneficial for the parent in such situations.
Source: The Herald Sun, "The amnesty dilemma," Dec. 2, 2013