On December 21, 2016 Shaequita Grier was arrested by a DeKalb County Sheriff’s deputy for failing to pay court ordered child support. The mother owed her ex-husband $1,000 at the time of her arrest and was one of approximately 100 Georgia residents served with an outstanding child support warrant on that late December day. Grier’s story is not an uncommon ones as more non-custodial parents find themselves in similar situations. Individuals who have been ordered to pay child support often fail to realize that not paying can cost far more than they anticipated.

Loss of Employment

Child support is often thought of solely as a financial obligation to children that is ordered by a court and enforced by a state agency. While being concerned over the ramifications of monthly expense is understandable, not paying the expense leads to even more problems, including loss of employment. One of the first penalties for failing to pay child support is the loss of all licenses including paramedic, nursing, CDL, and others that are required for certain types of employment.  Companies that require employees to maintain a valid professional license may terminate the employment of a person who has lost his or her licensure and failed to get it back within a reasonable time frame.

Prosecution and Imprisonment

Georgia residents who were arrested in December along with Shaequita Grier were required to make reasonable arrangements regarding their outstanding child support balances.  Non-custodial parents who are unable to make a payment often remain detained until payment is made. In other cases, past-due child support is connected to an unrelated incarceration since adults who are in prison are rarely able to make full child support payments. Earl L. Harris, a prisoner arrest for selling drugs, did not owe child support when he was incarcerated. By the time Harris was released after serving a five-year sentence, he owed more than $10,000 in back child support.

The Long-Term Effect

Once a person begins falling behind on child support, it is not unusual for their debt to spiral out of control. Adults who have lost numerous jobs due to child support-related issues experience difficulties getting hired by a new employer. Parents who are unable to pay due to unrelated imprisonments, other job loss, or medical problems also find themselves in a difficult situation financially. A cycle of child support debt is hard to escape from especially when multiple children or a contentious divorce is involved. After 16 years of marriage and a difficult divorce, Matthew Thomas failed to make timely child support payments, eventually moving away from Georgia. By the time he was arrested, Thomas owed over $223,000 in back child support and will not be released unless he makes a substantial payment to show the court he is willing to pay.

The best way to avoid being placed in a perilous situation for not paying child support is to address any inabilities to pay immediately. After a job loss, a change in financial status, or other major event that affect your ability to pay, discussing your situation with a qualified child support attorney is always a good idea. The attorneys at Vayman and Teitelbaum are able to provide you with the assistance you need to request a child support modification or find a suitable way to pay back child support. Contact us today and schedule a consultation at one of our four offices conveniently located in the Atlanta metro area.