Child support payments are provided to ensure that a child does not suffer undue economic hardship because of the separation of his or her parents. In Colorado, when the child support amount ordered is not paid, the child not only faces that hardship, but the parent who fails to provide for the child can face stiff fines or even jail time. These penalties are a distinct possibility for a man arrested recently for failure to pay child support amounting to more than $1 million.
The man currently in custody managed to rack up his large pile of delinquent payments over an 18-year period. In order to avoid making child support payments, he not only fled his state of residence, but also eventually fled the country.
He is not alone in the million-dollar club. In his home state, there are 23 parents on the list. Of that number, only two are being prosecuted for child support arrears. The original child support order for the 50-year-old father was issued in 1995 for $750 a week, and was later raised to $995. The father made slightly more than two years worth of payments before leaving the state in 1997 with a new wife. After fathering an additional child, they divorced and he was ordered to pay $625 more a week. Soon after a warrant was issued for his arrest in 2000, due to the unpaid support, he fled the country and was later spotted in Thailand.
His travels finally neared an end when he was deported back to the U.S. after being arrested in the Philippines for using false documentation to travel. When his plane landed in the U.S. recently, he was arrested. A second man from the million-dollar child support list was arrested just two months before and sits in federal jail.
Those custodial parents looking to collect on delinquent payments have the right to pursue the payments using the court system. For residents of Colorado, this may lead to arrest warrants and an eventual trial where the delinquent parent may be ordered to make restitution in the amount owed.
Source: The New York Times, "Huge Child-Support Debt Doesn't Ensure Time in Jail," Mosi Secret, Dec. 30, 2012