US Passport Denials for Child Support Arrears

In recent years, local child support agencies have had more success collecting past-due child support because they have so many different methods available to them, such as wage garnishment, bank levies, license suspensions, and so on. However, sometimes child support agencies still have difficulty collecting, especially when the balances are in the tens of thousands.

According to the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), sometimes it’s not that a parent can’t afford to pay child support, but they choose not to pay it. So, to take support collection a step further, the Passport Denial Program was enacted to collect past-due child support from parents when they want to travel outside the United States for honeymoons, vacations, work, school, to see family, or for other reasons.

The Passport Denial Program

“OCSE received authority to initiate the Passport Denial Program as part of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. Back then, the Passport Denial Program promised to be a revolutionary new enforcement tool to help children and families get their past-due support. Today the program is much more successful than the child support community ever imagined,” according to the OCSE.

Under the Act, if a noncustodial parent owes $2,500 or more in child support arrears, their US passport can be denied, revoked or restricted. Sometimes, the parent is unaware that that action will be taken against their passport until they try to add pages, change a name, update a picture, or have a damaged passport repaired or reissued.

Not all past-due child support cases are handled the same and it varies from state to state. “Some [states] will work with parents to set up reasonable payment plans to help them stay current, while others will require partial or full payments,” according to the OCSE.

Next: Finding a Missing Parent for Child Support

Have you been denied a US passport because you owe back child support? If so, contact our Orange County family law firm for professional legal assistance.