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Penalties for failure to maintain child support may be severe

It can be very easy to let things slip when one is in emotional turmoil. One thing that all parents must prioritize during every stage of divorce is the best interest of their children. Child support payments are often a necessary part of meeting this obligation, and there are federal laws that cover this area, in addition to California state laws. A recent case provides an example of how things may play out if one does not adhere to the law.

A Florida resident, waiving indictment, pleaded guilty to owing in excess of $90,000 in child support. His divorce was finalized in 2007; however, he failed to maintain the ordered payments of $216 a week. Over the next three and a half years, the payments that were made were inconsistent and the amounts varied. Around 18 months later, the payments ceased completely, and this continued for another two and a half years.

As if the situation was not serious enough, there was an added problem being that the divorce was finalized in Maine, and federal law states that it is illegal to live in a state where one's children are not domiciled if outstanding child support payments exceed $10,000. Sentencing has not yet taken place; however, it is expected that the man could be facing a two-year jail sentence and a potential fine of as much as $250,000. This would be in addition to paying the back child support.

Circumstances can change at any time in the lives of California residents for a variety of reasons. Whether child support payments need to be increased to account for higher expenditures or lowered because of a change in income, the process should always take place via the correct channels. In addition, payments must be made in the correct amounts and at the right times. Seeking advice in a timely fashion when circumstances may indicate a need for revision may help to avoid arrears and misunderstandings from interfering with otherwise positive relationships with one's children.

Source: bangordailynews.com, "Florida man pleads guilty to not paying $90,000 in child support", Judy Harrison, Sep. 28, 2015

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