Paso parents who fail to pay child support and who leave the state in order to avoid it may be punished under a 1998 federal law called the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act. In addition to leaving the state, in order to be prosecuted under DPPA, parents must not have made child support payments in over a year and must owe upwards of $5,000 or they must not have made payments in more than two years and must owe over $10,000.
The penalty for a first offense under the DPPA is up to six months of imprisonment. For a second offense, a person might be incarcerated for up to two years. The person might also be required to pay back child support.
A parent who wants to file a DPPA-related child support case can do so in the state where they or their child lives. They can also file the case in any federal court.
Child support is usually paid by a noncustodial parent to a noncustodial parent as part of the divorce decree or if unmarried parents are no longer in a relationship. Some parents might be tempted to make an informal custody and support agreement, but getting a legally binding order gives the parent who is supposed to receive support access to local, state and federal resources for collecting that support. There are other avenues besides DPPA that can be used if a parent has not left the state or does not fall under the other DPPA requirements. A parent's wages might be garnished or other sources of income, such as bonuses or tax rebates, could be seized to pay child support. Parents who are struggling to collect support should contact their local child support enforcement office to discuss their options, but they should not try to restrict the other parent's access to their children if that parent has visitation rights.