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Man flees country, owes thousands of dollars in child support

We've discussed many of the challenges that couples face if they choose to get divorced. There is the process of distributing property which can be time-consuming and frustrating. Couples who have children together also need to come to an agreement that lays out the terms of both child support and child custody.

Child support can become a heated topic between parents. But often terms are reached and the parent who is legally bound to make the payments will in fact do so. However, in some cases, the parent who is supposed to pay child support fails to do so. What happens then?

Often when a substantial amount of child support is due, a judge can step in and order the parent to pay. In certain circumstances, a judge can also modify the child support agreement, in the event that a life event has altered the parent's ability to pay.

One man owed over 10 years of back payments for child support. After his divorce in 1991, he was ordered to pay child support to his former wife. He did not make any payments. Then a few years later, a judge reduced his monthly payments and ordered him to pay. Instead of paying, the man disappeared.

Then this month, authorities caught up to him. A warrant had been issued for his arrest and an agent who was aware of the warrant recognized the man. Where was he? He was in the country of Jordan. He was stopped trying to get into another country and sent back here to the states. He was arrested and is now facing a felony charge of nonsupport.

This specific charge carries penalties of two years in jail and a large fine if he's convicted. But the fine is nothing compared to the $420,000 that he owes in child support.

Source: Amarillo Globe-News online, "FBI finds fugitive dad in Jordan," Joe Gamm, 25 January 2011

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The Law Office of Steven C. Girsky
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