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Unpaid child support and federal law

In 2013, there were more than 13 million parents across the entire nation who had custody of a child while the child's other parent lived somewhere else, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Moreover, these parents received a combined total of over $22 billion in child support payments over the course of the year. However, $32.9 billion in child support was owed, resulting in a deficit of more than $10 billion. For non-custodial fathers in Lee County, Florida, back child support can carry serious consequences at both the state and federal level.

The United States Department of Justice has outlined the federal penalties for various child support violations on their site, which include steep fines and time behind bars. Although local and state authorities often take care of many child support matters, there are a number of circumstances where federal officials get involved. For example, if an individual who owes more than $5,000 in back child support or has failed to pay child support for at least one year attempts to evade their obligations by leaving the country or state, they could spend as much as two years behind bars under federal law.

Unpaid child support may also lead to federal prosecution if someone does not pay court-ordered child support for a child who does not live in his or her state. This violation, a criminal misdemeanor, may result in a six-month prison sentence in addition to fines. For non-custodial parents who have trouble fulfilling their child support obligations, addressing the situation right away is paramount.

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