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Failing to pay child support not only hurts the child; parents can face serious legal consequences

In matters of child support, as in decisions related to parenting plans and child custody, the primary concern is doing what is best for the child. Sometimes the parent who receives support feels the amount being paid simply isn't enough, and sometimes the paying parent has doubts about how the money is being spent.

The best way to go about resolving a child support dispute is to go through the proper legal channels. In some cases, a modification of a child support order is appropriate. What a paying parent should never do is simply abandon his or her obligation to support the child financially.

A Florida man is coming to understand the serious legal consequences of failing to pay child support. His case is extreme, as he was arrested on multiple federal charges, all relating to his failure to pay more than $119,000 in child support over a period of 10 years.

The mother, who lives in Maine, allegedly stated to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that the father had several jobs over the years and even owned a bar in Maine. He is believed to have earned an annual income of more than $282,000 at some point.

The mother said that he began using drugs and carrying a gun, and that he threatened her numerous times. A couple of years after their divorce, she obtained a restraining order against him.

Authorities arrested the man in Tampa, and if convicted on the child support charges, he could be sentenced to up to two years in prison and have to pay a maximum fine of $250,000.

Regardless of the outcome of the criminal case, the hope is that the child is ultimately provided for.

To learn more about establishing, modifying and enforcing child support orders, please see our child support overview.

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