Those thinking about escaping the country to frolic in the sand and sun of exotic clime, but who haven’t been supporting their children, just might have to rethink their plans. According to the New Jersey Department of Human Services, skipping out on child support payments could mean the refusal of a passport application. If a noncustodial parent is behind in support payments of $2,500 or more, he or she may have to plan a vacation within U.S. borders.
There are certain instances where the payor could contest the passport application refusal decision. They include if a passport is needed to work-related travel; in the event of a family emergency or imminent death of a loved one or if arrears never exceeded $2,500. Cases in which payors are behind in their support payments are referred to the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) by the New Jersey Child Support Program.
The OCSE is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which works with the U.S. Department of State to deny passport applications or renewals for anyone who reaches or passes $2,500 in child support owing. New Jersey is one of the states that has a policy with zero arrears. What that means is a payor must pay up in full before he or she will have a passport restriction removed.
New Jersey takes paying child support very seriously. Some payors and payees may not be aware of the ramifications that could ensue if payments are consistently not being made. Consulting with an experienced lawyer may shed light on important and often confusing issues like child support payments that could have far-reaching effects for everyone concerned.