Penalties for nonpayment are both administrative and court-ordered.
Administrative penalties for default (arrearages exceed your monthly support obligation) consist of tax interception, bank account seizure, reporting delinquency to the credit bureau, passport denial, and driver’s, recreational or professional license suspension.
Court-ordered penalties consist of findings of contempt, as well as misdemeanor and felony nonsupport convictions. Contempt is a civil finding, punishable by up to thirty (1st contempt), sixty (2nd contempt), or ninety (3rd contempt) days in jail. Because contempt is a civil finding and the goal of such a finding is to increase support payments, the nonpaying party is provided an opportunity to extinguish the sentence, prior to it being imposed. A criminal misdemeanor carries with it a maximum jail sentence of 180 days and five years of community control. A criminal felony conviction permits a maximum sentence of one year and five years of community control. To qualify for a contempt or a misdemeanor, the stature requires only that a party not being paying as ordered, whereas a felony requires nonpayment for six of twenty-four months.