Child support is one major issue spouses and those who enter into a relationship and have a child will need to settle in the event that they decide to divorce one another. Determination of child support is made by a court, thus, its payment is, therefore, a legal obligation. A non-custodial parent will not be exempt from paying child support even if he or she were to declare bankruptcy. Non-payment of this court-ordered support can mean fines and imprisonment for the non-custodial parent.
Child support is the legal duty even of divorced couples. This is because though they would stop being a spouse to one another, their being parents to their children will never cease. This gives them the legal and moral duty to see to it that all the needs of their child/children are met.
Child support or child maintenance is paid on a regular basis (usually monthly) by a non-custodial parent to the custodial parent or to whoever has been determined by the court to care for the child (this can be a guardian, a caregiver or the government itself). Courts usually name a custodian other than the parents if both parents have been declared unfit to care for their child or if both parents will not be able to perform their parental duties due to serious medical condition).
Thousands of cases regarding non-custodial parents fleeing to other states to be able to escape payment of child support have been (and still continue to be) reported. Due to this, the Child Support Recovery Act (CSRA) was passed in 1992. Under this Act, the Federal government, state and local authorities are encouraged to assist one another, mainly in determining the whereabouts of those who try to escape child support payment. Under the law, non-custodial parents who are also found to owe at least $2,500 in child support, will be denied a U.S. passport if they apply for one. This mandate is declared by the U.S. Passports & International Travel of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. Only when unpaid amount has been settled will application for a passport be accepted; however, it may still take the Passport Services two or three weeks before the processing of passport application gets approved.
A non-custodial parent, after his or her whereabouts has been discovered, can face federal prosecution if it can be confirmed that he or she intentionally failed to pay child support, skipped payment for more than one year, or the amount owed is more than $5,000.
According to the law firm Marshall & Taylor PLLC, child support actually pays for educational costs, transportation to school/activities, medical needs, daily sustenance and care, mortgage on a house or rent for an apartment/shelter, and a certain standard of living. Both parents, of course, have the obligation to provide for their child; if one parent refuses to perform his or her duty in providing for his or her child, then the other parent can always take legal action.