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Learning more about the DPPA

The Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act is a federal law that levies penalties against noncustodial parents who move to another state in an effort to avoid their child support obligations. Created in 1998, it says that North Carolina residents or others may be subject to prison time in addition to paying back child support owed. The DPPA may apply to any parent who has moved to another state and has failed to make payments for more than a year totaling more than $5,000.

The DPPA may also apply to parents who haven't made payments for more than two years and who owe more than $10,000 in back child support. Those who are convicted of a first offense under the DPPA may spend up to six months in prison. A conviction for a second offense may result in a prison sentence of up to two years.

Parents can file DPPA cases in any federal court or in any state where the child lives and has not received support. Cases can also be filed in any state in which the parent has lived. Parents who are interested in learning more about their rights under the legislation are encouraged to speak with an attorney.

Those who have failed to pay child support may face a variety of penalties including jail time and restitution. However, individuals who are struggling to keep with their support obligations may ask for a modification to a current order. Modifications may be made if there is a change to a parent's financial situation such as a loss of income or an unexpected expense. Parents who are seeking a support order may wish to talk with an attorney who may be able to help them obtain one.

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