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The divorce process can be difficult for many different reasons, such as the division of marital property and concerns about spousal support payments. However, child support is often an especially concerning issue for those with kids, from custodial parents who worry about their former partner’s ability to make payments to non-custodial parents who fall behind on their obligations. If you have been unable to pay child support or worry that you will lose the ability to stay current because your job has been terminated, it is important to avoid falling behind and understand some of the consequences associated with back child support, such as tax refund interception.

According to the Office of Child Support Enforcement’s website, parents who have unpaid child support may have their tax refund intercepted under the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program. Depending on the amount of back child support you owe, your tax refund may be intercepted partially or entirely. If your refund is offset, you will receive a notice, but this has caught many parents completely off-guard. Moreover, there may be other consequences associated with falling behind on payments, such as losing the ability to obtain a passport.

Tax refund interception can make life more complicated for someone who may already be experiencing financial hardship. Some people look ahead and expect to pay off debt once they receive their tax refund, which may be interrupted by the offset program. If you have these concerns, you may want to look into other options, such as modifying your child support order.