Although most parents want to do what is in the best interest of their child or children, there may be times, typically due to unforeseen circumstances such as an injury, lay off or unexpected medical expense, which may result in a decrease in income and a subsequent inability of the parent to pay monthly child support. However, ignoring the problem, avoiding paying child support or simply failing to seek a modification for child support payment can have dire consequences and penalties.
Michigan parents who are required to pay court ordered child support may find it interesting to learn that failing to pay child support or knowingly avoiding paying child support may lead to an arrest and time behind bars. In a recent case, a 61-year-old man, who had been ordered to pay about $1,500 per month in child support, decided to move out the country in 2005 in order to avoid paying the child support. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, the man allegedly moved to Thailand, and was gainfully employed there as an executive for a large hotel company.
As a result of his failure to pay child support, the 61-year-old had over $171,000 in child support arrears. According to reports, he reentered the U.S. in 2007 to attend his daughter’s marriage in Illinois. However, rather than flying directly into the state, he allegedly flew to Canada and then crossed the border into the U.S. on foot in the state of Washington, later returning to Thailand in the same manner. The man later was arrested for failing to paying child support in 2012. Reportedly, the 61-year-old man acknowledged that he fled the U.S. to avoid paying child support. As a result of his actions, he was recently sentenced to about 21-months in prison and ordered to pay the child support arrears that he still owes.
As the case above illustrates, a parent who has been ordered to pay child support, but fails to do so, may face prison time. Clearly, every case and circumstance is different, but the legal consequences tend to be the same. Rather than getting in trouble with the law, it is important for parents who are ordered to pay child support to take steps to avoid the negative consequences of not paying child support. There are legal solutions and options to decrease or modify child support obligations. However, the parent has to take steps to have his or her support order modified. Anyone interested in learning more about legal options surrounding child support may want to contact a family law attorney for more information.
Source: KOMU, “Missouri Man Flees County to Avoid Child Support,” June 30, 2014