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Federal laws related to child support enforcement

Both Tennessee state laws and federal laws consider child support delinquency to be a serious offense. Although most child support matters are governed by Tennessee laws, there are certain exceptional cases that fall under the purview of federal child support enforcement laws. Title IV Part-D of the Social Security Act requires agencies operating under it to aid state agencies, custodial parents and others in enforcing a child support order.

According to current federal laws related to child support enforcement, it is illegal for a non-custodial parent to willfully default on child support payments. There are some clearly defined set of circumstances under which a child support delinquent can face federal prosecution. Criminal charges for child support delinquency ranges from misdemeanors to felonies depending on the gravity of the offense.

A non-custodial parent can face misdemeanor charges for failing to comply with child support orders for a child living in another state. If a non-custodial parent does not pay due child support for more than one year or if the due amount exceeds $5,000, that person faces misdemeanor charges. Under the same set ofcircumstances, if a non-custodial parent willfully fails to pay child support for more than two years or if the due amount exceeds $10,000, that parent faces felony charges. Besides significant fines, penalties include up to six months' jail for misdemeanors and up to two years' jail for felonies.

Another important concern that federal laws address is the disappearance of child support delinquents. According to federal laws, it is illegal for non-custodial parents with child support obligations to cross state lines or leave the country in order to avoid paying child support when that outstanding amount is in excess of $5,000 or if the dues have not been paid for more than one year. Conviction can result in fines and up to two years in prison.

Source: Justice.gov, "Citizen's Guide to U.S. Federal Law on Child Support Enforcement," Accessed on Nov. 28, 2014

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