Feds turn up the heat on parents who fail to pay child support

The federal government has officially unveiled a new weapon in the fight against those parents who refuse to pay child support and have accumulated significant arrears. Here, the weapon of choice is not necessarily more funding to the states or more manpower, but a fugitive website that lists the names, descriptions, warrant dates, child support arrears and last known whereabouts of the nation’s top offenders.

While it may seem curious that federal authorities would become involved in child support matters as they are largely a state issue, there are specific circumstances under which the Office of Inspector General can — and will — intervene.

These include the following:

  • The noncustodial parent willfully chooses not to pay court-ordered child support for over a year and lives in a different state than the child,
  • The noncustodial parent is behind by over $5,000 in child support payments and lives in a different state than the child,
  • The noncustodial parent moves to another state or country to elude paying child support

“You’re talking about a willful intent to avoid paying for children. For their livelihood, for providing the basics that they so deserve” said Gerald Roy, Deputy Inspector General for Investigations.

According to the Office of Inspector General website, federal charges stemming from the failure to pay child support can have significant consequences:

  • First offense: A fine, and/or up to six months in prison, restitution/settlement of child support arrears
  • Second and subsequent offenses/Unpaid child support for over two years/Unpaid child support totaling over $10,000: A fine of up to $250,000 and/or two years in prison, restitution/settlement of child support arrears

It is worth noting that the number one offender on the Office of Inspector General’s website owes over $1 million in back child support.

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about child support arrears or post-divorce issues, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.


Office of Inspector General, “Child support enforcement

WAVY-10, “Government goes after deadbeat parents” Jan. 18, 2012