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Federal child support enforcement laws

On Behalf of | May 13, 2021 | Child Support

Child support enforcement is usually a responsibility of the states, which means that most matters pertaining to child support are under the purview of Arizona courts. However, in some exceptional cases, federal laws can be invoked by Title IV-D agencies for enforcement of child support. Some examples of such circumstances would be when the outstanding child support amount is too large when the non-custodial, delinquent parent is in another state.

The CSRA, 1992 and the DPPA, 1998

The Child Support Recovery Act, 1992 was passed for the purpose of ensuring timely payment of child support, failing which the non-custodial parent may face misdemeanor charges. This act was successful to quite an extent but enforcement agencies observed that misdemeanor charges were sometimes not enough for the more serious violators.

In order to address the agencies’ concern regarding serious violators, the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act was passed in 1998, which amended the earlier act. Being apprehended for the violation of this act meant that child support enforcement agencies could now press felony charges against delinquent parents when the unpaid child support amount was huge.

Title 18 Section 228 of United States Code

According to this section, if a non-custodial parent willfully defaults on child support payments, it is considered an offense. Per this law, it is a misdemeanor when child support is unpaid for a child in another state for a period of one year or more and the outstanding amount is in excess of $5,000. Conviction for this can lead to a six-month prison term.

In addition, if the period of unpaid child support for a child in another state is two years or more and the unpaid amount is $10,000 or more, felony charges can be brought against the delinquent parent. If convicted, the prison term can extend to two years.

Title 18 Section 228 of United States Code also makes it illegal for the child support obligor to cross state lines or leave the country if the outstanding child support is in excess of $5,000 or if child support is unpaid for a period of more than one year. An offense under this law is punishable by a prison sentence that can extend up to two years.