Failure To Pay Child Support May Result In The Lost Of Your Passport
Most people don’t realize that if you have a child support arrearage of more than $2,500 that you are NOT eligible for either a renewal or the issuance of a U.S. passport. Also, be aware that there is no guarantee that even if your arrearage balance is below $2,500 that you will be allowed to obtain a passport because you are still in arrears. Many people who had intended to travel abroad have learned about this restriction the hard way and ended up having their plans aborted by a passport denial. Think about the implications if, for example, you were planning on getting married overseas and the passport request is denied.
The U.S. State Department’s Travel Abroad website provides detail information about the mandatory process that must be undertaken before any passport application will be processed. You need to make arrangements to pay the State Support Enforcement Agency where child support is owed BEFORE you submit your application for a U.S. passport. Also, all questions about your child support arrears or the status of a payment should be directed to that appropriate State Support Enforcement Agency and not to the U.S. State Department or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as they will be unable to help you.
However, if you dispute what you owe and feel that you have been wrongly accused of owing support in excess of $2,500, then action needs to be taken immediately. In many instances the arrearage figure may be in error and incorrect. If you are not able to resolve that issue, it may be necessary to file a motion in Court to correct the arrearage amount. That entire Court process may take several months to accomplish. Then, even after the Court issues a decision, it may take time for the agency to correct its records and send the updated account information to the State Department. Also realize that after the new information is received by the passport office, they say it takes generally 2-3 weeks before Passport Services will start to process your application. Thereafter, if all goes smoothly, allow at least another 6 weeks to receive the passport. So, a word to the wise is to plan as far ahead as possible so you don’t end up stateside and miss the big event!
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