The winner of the recent $338 million Powerball jackpot made headlines when he came into riches - and then again shortly after when it was discovered that he owes nearly $30,000 in back child support.
If the man continues to fail to make payments, he could face jail time. However, that is unlikely to happen. The state lottery division usually settles court judgments before paying out lottery winnings. In this specific case, the man's $29,000 in back child support is dwarfed by the $152 million he will receive after taxes.
Similarly, in some cases the government may garnish wages, seize property or intercept tax refunds to get back child support. They need a court order to take any of those actions. Before it gets to that point, it may be wise to take action if you are having difficulty making payments.
In some cases it may be appropriate to seek a modification to your child support order. One situation that may justify a modification is when one or both parents experience a substantial change in income. In this case the child support payer experienced an upturn in his financial situation.
But in other cases, where the noncustodial parent loses a job or experiences a loss of income, he or she may be able to seek a reduction of child support. The state government makes it a priority to ensure that child support gets paid but they cannot reasonably expect people to pay money that they don't have.
In our next post we'll discuss child support modifications in more detail. If you are struggling to make child support payments consider contacting your local child support office or a family law attorney who can help.
Source: Law and Daily Life, "Powerball Winner Owes $29K in Child Support," Andrew Lu, March 28, 2013