Consequences of Non-Payment of Child Support

Laura E. Shapiro -

Jail is a possible consequence of non-payment of child support

The Colorado Child Support Enforcement Act administers many consequences for non-payment of child support, including taking legal and administrative action against parents who refuse to pay. When a parent falls behind on child support, it can put the primary residential parent and the children in a difficult financial spot.

This is one reason why Colorado law allows Child Support Services (CSS) to use stringent enforcement remedies and consequences to collect back child support and future payments in full. In addition, the primary residential parent could file paperwork to hold the parent who failed to pay in contempt of court.

Contempt Remedy

Possible consequences of not paying child support include income withholding, license suspensions, and other penalties. However, a Court can hold the non-paying parent in contempt of court.

Contempt proceedings may begin at the request of the primary residential parent and their attorney or CSS. This action requires the other parent to appear in court and explain why they have not done so. If you are the parent who received this type of Motion, you may want to take your attorney with you to court. You could face serious legal consequences, including jail time, because of this action.

Disobeying a court order is serious. The possible consequences if you are found in contempt of court include:

1.   Punitive Sanctions

Punitive sanctions are penalties meant to punish the non-paying parent for their disregard for the court’s order. These sanctions may include:

  • Up to 180 days in jail; or
  • Fines for every violation of the child support order.

2.   Remedial Sanctions

Remedial sanctions are generally additional fees and payments, such as paying for the other parent’s attorney’s fees related to this action. 

You Could Face Additional Consequences from a Contempt of Court Action

Non-payment of child support could result in administrative actions and consequences that include:

  • Suspension of your Colorado driver’s license;
  • Suspension of your professional or occupational license;
  • Suspension of a hunting or fishing license; or
  • Reporting the debt to credit reporting agencies.

Some consequences are not meant to punish the non-paying parent. Rather, the focus is on recovering the money due to their child, or children, based on the court-ordered support. These actions could include:

  • Garnishing wages;
  • Garnishing other, non-traditional sources of income;
  • Seizure of assets;
  • Placing liens on real property; or
  • Taking money for child support from the parent’s Colorado state or federal income tax refund.

You May Be Able to Request a Reduction in Child Support Due to Financial Hardships

In some cases, parents get behind on child support because of an unexpected expense, the loss of a job, or another unavoidable situation. Since non-payment of child support can lead to serious legal consequences, you should contact CSS as soon as your income changes.

You may also be able to request a reduced support rate by asking the judge to review your case and your current circumstances. Even if the court rules to lower your obligation, you will still owe the full amount for any previous months missed.

Shapiro Family Law Can Help You with Your Colorado Child Support Case

If you have questions or concerns about the consequences of non-payment of child support, or if you need representation for any matters concerning child support, you can trust the efficient, effective, and capable team from Shapiro Family Law.

Since founding Shapiro Family Law in 1991, family law attorney Laura E. Shapiro has provided individual attention, compassionate counsel, and vigorous advocacy. She is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell and well-equipped to handle even the most complex cases. She can help you fight a contempt of court motion filed against you or fight for the child support your child’s other parent is obligated to pay.

Talk to a Colorado Family Law Attorney About Your Case

If you have questions or concerns about non-payment of child support in Denver, CO, or statewide, our team is here to help. We can review the facts of your case and recommend the actions necessary to remedy the problem. Call the Denver law office of Shapiro Family Law today at (303) 695-0200. We can file contempt of court charges on your behalf, or we can defend you against them.

Laura E. Shapiro

Laura Shapiro is an award-winning Family Law Attorney with 40+ years of experience. Laura practices Family Law exclusively with her primary focus being divorce and child custody matters.

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