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Child support arrears could result in passport denial

As most Rhode Island residents know, in order to travel abroad a person needs a valid passport. Those who do not have a valid passport will not be allowed to leave the country.

International travel aside, when parents pay child support, they are obligated to make all payments on time and in full. If they fail to do so, it could result in penalties, including the denial of a passport. This could not only ruin a person's vacation plans, but if a person has to travel abroad for work, the job could be in jeopardy.

If a case comes to the Rhode Island Office of Child Support Services in which a parent in Rhode Island has child support arrearages in the amount of $2,500 or higher, that office is able to initiate the passport denial process. The parent in arrears will receive notice and the case will be sent to the federal government for passport denial.

If the parent in arrears tries to apply for a passport the application will be rejected by the federal government due to that parent's outstanding obligation to pay child support. The parent would be notified as to why the application for a passport was rejected. The parent will then have to get in touch with the Rhode Island Office of Child Support Services to learn more.

Rhode Island has adopted a "zero tolerance" approach to such situations. The parent in arrears must fully catch up on child support obligations before the Rhode Island Office of Child Support Services will send notice to the federal government to take that parent's name off the list or accept that parent's application.

Paying child support is a serious financial obligation. The custodial parent relies on these payments in order to maintain the child's quality of life. While there may be many reasons as to why a non-custodial parent falls behind in child support payments, the fact is that sooner or later that money is owed. Failing to pay child support can result in serious penalties, including passport denial. Therefore, it is to the benefit of everyone -- the custodial parent, the non-custodial parent and most importantly, the child -- that all child support payments are made on time and in full.

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Law Office of Steven J. Hirsch, Esq

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