Summer is coming up—it’s the perfect time for a vacation. But you might have to keep your travels local if you owe back child support. This is because parents who have a certain amount of unpaid child support may be denied a passport by the United States government.
Child support and passport eligibility
Not many single parents know this, but if you owe $2,500 or more in child support payments to your partner, you are not eligible to receive a passport. Perhaps you are wondering why this restriction is in place, and what passports have to do with child support. The U.S. government took this step to penalize non-custodial parents who were skimping or missing their payments. It is also meant to act as motivation for these parents to make their payments on time and in full.
Become eligible for a passport
If you or your former partner are behind on child support payments but need a passport, there are a few steps that you can take to regain your eligibility. First, you will need to pay your child support arrears with California’s Department of Child Support Services. This step is necessary to regain your passport. Until your back payments are below $2,500, you will not qualify for your passport. Once you have lowered your back payments, the Department of Health and Human Services will contact the State Department. Then, this department can process your passport application.
Reconsider your child support options
Perhaps your life situation is such that you cannot make your child support payments. If this is your case, you may wish to consider your legal options. It is sometimes possible to modify child support arrangements to suit your current financial situation. Attorneys frequently work with clients to accomplish this. They can also help navigate the process of obtaining a passport when dealing with late child support payments.