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What should I know about not paying child support?

When you have a child, you need to financially support him or her, even when you aren't with the child's other parent. In fact, financial support of children is taken seriously in Tennessee.

If you choose not to pay child support that is ordered by the court, you can face serious penalties. You must understand what you are going up against if you are thinking about shirking your financial support obligations.

What if I truly can't pay the payments?

You might be able to seek a modification of the child support order. Since these orders typically aren't retroactive, make sure you file the petition as soon as you know that your financial situation is changing. This helps you to avoid becoming too far behind. It also shows that you are willing to pay, but are just unable to right now because of the current circumstances.

What might happen if I don't pay?

You can face administrative penalties, time in jail and other penalties. The judge who is presiding over your case will determine what is appropriate for your circumstances. If you are facing a court hearing for failing to pay child support, you need to find out your options for addressing the situation.

Why should I pay child support if I don't see my child?

Child support payments aren't contingent upon you seeing your child. If your child's other parent is keeping the child from you, address that matter in court. Don't just decide that you are going to withhold child support payments as that can land you in legal trouble for not following the court order.

Source: FindLaw, "What Are the Penalties for Avoiding Child Support?," George Khoury, Esq., accessed April 21, 2017

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