Missing one child support payment may be a one-time issue, but it often creates an economic tailspin that can be very hard to shake.
When enough missed support payments rack up, the authorities can issue an arrest warrant. Getting arrested could lead to days or even weeks behind bars.
For many people, that means losing the job they had. When they get out of jail, they're now even further behind on child support and they're unemployed. Naturally, they're probably going to fall behind even more while searching for a new job. Getting caught up feels nearly impossible.
When they can't, they may get arrested again. This means they can't find a job or it could cost them a new job that they recently picked up, and the whole cycle starts over again. It can be very difficult to finally break out of it and move forward, and many people never do.
Even more minor penalties for a lack of payment can be detrimental. One man who was behind said they were threatening to suspend his driver's license. For most people, that would mean it'd be harder to get to work, but he was a truck driver, so it would mean he wouldn't have a job at all. If he couldn't get caught up while he was working, he certainly wouldn't with even that income taken away.
These stories illustrate some of the problems with the system and why it's so important not to fall behind. Doing so can kick off a cycle that seemingly never ends. It's important for parents on both sides to know all of their legal options.
Source: New York Times, "Skip Child Support. Go to Jail. Lose Job. Repeat.," Frances Robles and Shaila Dewan, accessed Jan. 11, 2018