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There are legal consequences for failing to pay child support

In Minnesota, child support is determined using a statutory formula that is based on income and parenting time. There are also Minnesota statutes that provide for arrest or other legal action when a parent fails to pay child support. The father in today's posting experienced such repercussions firsthand, resulting from the enforcement of a child support order.

The man, who had been absent from his child's life for 19 years and had become delinquent in his child support payments, had moved to Hawaii to avoid enforcement efforts. Apparently, the man believed Hawaii to be too remote a location for extradition.

However, the man was lured back to the United States after a bounty hunter, pretending to be a movie producer, recruited him on Facebook with the promise of a cameo appearance in a new romantic comedy starring Jennifer Aniston. The bounty hunter pretended that one of his talent scouts had heard the man's guitar performance in the Hawaii café where the man worked. After the plane touched down, local authorities arrested the man, at which point the ruse was up. The man spent 42 days in jail and pleaded guilty for willful failure to pay child support.

It's unclear what caused the man in this story to become initially delinquent in his child support payments. Perhaps he felt the child support order was initially unfair or beyond his means. To avoid that outcome, it is important to have an attorney by your side during child support determinations, so that you are not taken advantage of by your spouse. Alternatively, perhaps the man's financial situation had changed and he could no longer afford making child support payments. In such event, the man should have requested a modification of the child support order, instead of fleeing to Hawaii.

When circumstances do warrant legal action against a former spouse, an attorney can help you file a contempt petition to compel cooperation with the child support agreement. If you are owed back child support or alimony, a legal judgment in your favor may also permit you to levy wages, or seize money in bank accounts or tax refunds.

Source: MSNBC, "Jennifer Aniston movie role lures deadbeat dad home to face $43K bill, arrest," Randee Dawn, July 9, 2012

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