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What Is a Child Support Warrant?

Purposefully disobeying a court order for child support may result in a charge of civil contempt.
Someone accused of nonpayment of child support might be arrested under a child support warrant.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 10 July 2014
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A child support warrant is an order issued by a judge to arrest someone for nonpayment of child support and to bring that person into court to resolve the matter. Child support warrants are issued when people have not paid child support for an extended period of time, owe a lot of money in support, or cannot be located. Both civil and criminal warrants are available.

Most typically, a civil child support warrant is issued. The parent owed support attends court with a copy of the child support agreement and proof that the noncustodial parent is not paying support. After reviewing the facts of the case, the judge can issue a warrant for contempt as the noncustodial parent is not complying with the court order to pay support. The noncustodial parent must appear in court to show cause for not paying support and law enforcement agencies are authorized to make an arrest to bring the parent into court.

There are situations where a prosecutor may file a case against a parent who is not paying child support. In these cases, a criminal child support warrant is issued. Criminal warrants are used when the nonpayment of support is classified as a felony, usually determined by the amount owed. The definitions for felony nonpayment vary by region and people should familiarize themselves with these definitions before approaching a prosecutor to request a filing of felony charges.

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Issuing a warrant does not necessarily result in the appearance of the nonpaying parent in court. People can evade child support and may choose to ignore a child support warrant. Cooperation of law enforcement officers who can pursue people for nonpayment is needed to get subjects into court. Once in court, the subject can be questioned to determine why the court order for child support was violated. The goal of a child support warrant is to recover some or all of the monies owed and to make adjustments to the court order, if needed, to keep the parent current with child support in the future.

Failure to pay child support can have significant consequences. Wages may be garnished by court order to collect support directly from a person's paycheck. When criminal warrants are issued, people may be listed as wanted criminals and the warrants will interfere with security checks and background checks. If someone is concerned about making child support payments, it is advisable to contact the court to let the court know that the court order cannot be complied with due to changes in circumstances like job loss and to request a hearing to make adjustments to the child support agreement.

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Discuss this Article

anon946040
Post 5

My ex moved to another state and now Nebraska will not go serve the three warrants for failure to appear on sentencing for child support. They said it is not a felony warrant and not worth the money it would cost to extradite him. I will have to wait for him to go back to Nebraska to be arrested. I have given the sheriff's office his new address also.

anon942700
Post 4

You should not harbor a felon or someone who is accused of wrong doing. Your maturity has not grown enough to fathom the responsibilities of adult men and women who must help, insure, provide subsidies for a child that never asked to be here.

Do you remember when you were a child? Was there a time that you did without? This boyfriend was just a boyfriend and you shouldn't date to be dating, but to marry and ensure a financial future, not to continue to just have a piece a man.

anon357426
Post 3

For you to call him your boyfriend, he still should be arrested. He isn't providing for his child and that is why he got arrested. I would hope you didn't know that he was not providing. If you did, you should go to jail right with him.

It is hard raising a child by yourself. Things add up like daycare, doctor visits, clothes, shoes, entertainment, etc. People need to get it together.

anon356889
Post 2

You should have answered the door and stop helping someone who does not take care of his obligations. If he's running from paying child support, I am sure that he does not help you on anything because he cannot have a good job. Get away from him as fast as you can cause he will only hurt you and not help you in any kind of way, financially or emotionally.

anon135796
Post 1

Can you tell me what rights the police have when arresting for child support? My boyfriend was arrested for non payment for child support. He lives with me and his name is not on the lease. We did not answer the door when the officers were knocking and they basically came in through a window. Is this legal or did they break into my home? What rights do I have?

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