In cases where the parents of a Rhode Island child are not married, the non-custodial parent is often ordered to pay child support. This support is meant to help pay for the child's everyday expenses.
This money can be essential in providing the child with the housing, food, clothing and medical care the child needs. However, there are situations where a parent cannot afford to pay child support or intentionally refuses to pay child support.
In these situations, those people who have not paid their child support should know that they are often disobeying an order of the court and can be subject to penalties.
According to Rhode Island's Office of Child Support Services, these penalties can include intercepting lottery payments, federal tax refunds and other money. People can have their wages garnished, reports made on their credit report and the professional licenses suspended. The state can also deny passport applications if people owe more than $2,500 in back child support. Additionally, liens can be placed on people's personal property, bank accounts and real estate
People who fall too far behind on child support can also face criminal punishments. In some cases, people can be placed in jail for up to six months for a first offense and up to two years in prison for subsequent offenses.
These penalties are meant to get people to pay their child support. The state wants to ensure that children get the money they need. However, the state also recognizes that there are times when people cannot afford child support payments. In those cases, a child support modification is required.