Falling behind on child support has consequences, depending on how far behind you are on payments and how much you owe.
In Florida, once you are fifteen days past due, the state serves you with a Notice of Delinquency. After twenty days, the penalties become more severe.
In fact, if you are behind on child support payments and owe over a certain amount, child support delinquency becomes a felony. Felony child support delinquency occurs when you meet the following criteria:
- Are 4 months past due in child support
- Owe $2,500 or more
- Have already been convicted of non-payment before
- Are accused of attempting to leave the state to avoid making payments
If you are found guilty of felony child support delinquency, you face jail or prison time and the obligation to pay all back child support. You could also be liable for additional court costs and fees.
According to the Florida Department of Revenue, if you owe at least $2,500 in back child support, the Department of State will reject your application for a passport until you pay the back child support.
The government will also deny your ability to replace or renew your passport if you owe that amount or more.
Are there any exceptions to this rule?
This rule has limited exceptions, but you should always consult with the state’s child support enforcement agency.
In some cases, even if you owe $2,500 or more in back child support, you may still be able to travel internationally for work-related purposes and other limited and specific reasons.
Losing passport privileges due to owing back child support can be frustrating and distressing for parents.
It is essential to understand the consequences of owing back child support and to know what to do if you cannot pay the child support you owe.
What to do if you cannot pay
If you fall behind on your child support payments, contact the state’s child support enforcement agency, the court with jurisdiction over your case and any counsel involved in your case, if applicable.
Usually, if you do your best to cooperate with authorities, you may have options to get caught up or, in some cases, request the court to consider a change in your child support order.