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What are the penalties for neglecting to pay child support?

When a parent in North Carolina fails to pay child support, he or she may face several penalties. Child support is meant to help provide for the care and upbringing of children, and both of a child's parents are expected to contribute financially to their child.

North Carolina treats parents who abandon and fail to support their children harshly. In addition to civil penalties, failing to pay child support is a crime in the state. Under North Carolina General Statute ยง 14-322(d), willfully failing to pay support or neglecting to do so is a class 2 misdemeanor. A subsequent offense is a class 1 misdemeanor.

A class 2 misdemeanor conviction for failing to pay child support carries the potential of jail time for up to 30 days. A class 1 misdemeanor conviction for people who have prior convictions carries up to 45 days in jail. Upon a conviction, judges may issue whatever orders that they deem to be necessary to secure support for the children from the parents who failed to pay. They may order wage garnishments or place liens on the parents' properties. In addition, they could issue orders establishing the support amounts.

Child custody and support orders are issued according to what the judge deems to be in the child's best interests. The law provides guidelines to help judges to determine the appropriate support amounts to order. Parents who are not receiving support might want to consult with a family law attorney. A lawyer may help his or her client secure child support orders. If a person who is ordered to pay child support later suffers a substantial change in his or her financial circumstances, an attorney might help by drafting and filing a motion requesting that the court reduces the child support amount.

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