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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Attorney experienced in all aspects of family law
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I live outside of the US. Recently, I found out that my ex filed for n

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I live outside of the US. Recently, I found out that my ex filed for non payment of child support. Where in fact I paid off the entire amount plus more ahead of time. Now, I am being reported to the State Department as having child support in the arrears. I would like to go back to the US to clear this issue. However, will US government take my passport away during entry and be allowed to exit while the case is being cleared?

Brandon M. :

Hello there.

Brandon M. :

Hi, can you see this?

Brandon M. :

Occasionally, there may be incompatibilities between a web browser version and the "chat" function of the website. It appears that you may be experiencing technical difficulties. If you are unable to respond in the next minute, I will switch formats, and that should resolve any technical problems.

Brandon M. :

Ok, I am going to switch now. Hopefully, you will be able to see my answers and respond.


Hi Brandon, did you see my question?

Hello again. Are you now able to see this and respond?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

yes I see you but not your answer.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

where is your response?

Hopefully, your technical problems have been resolved. When a child support agency reports arrears in excess of $2,500 to the State Department, the State Department will, as a matter of procedure, suspend the passport of the parent in arrears and prohibit the issuance of a new passport. A passport suspension is a common enforcement tool for child support arrears, and there is generally no other reason to contact the State Department in a child support case except in the context of requesting a passport suspension. If an individual's passport is suspended, it will prevent them from leaving the United States on that passport if they enter, even if they enter for the purpose of resolving the problem. Only if the arrears are actually cleared below $2,500 would there be assurance that a passport's suspension due to child support arrears would be lifted. So basically, the general rule is that if the State Department is notified that you owe more than $2,500 in child support arrears and if you are outside the U.S. on a U.S. Passport, don't plan on leaving the U.S. until the matter is resolved if you return.

So I'm afraid that I don't have great news for you in that regard, but I do hope that this information helps you to understand the law for your purposes. I am very glad to answer any follow-up questions that you may have, so please let me know if I may be of further assistance. Naturally, once you are completely finished, please feel free to rate me. Thanks.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

even if I have a valid passport, they will not let me leave?


Hi again, Todd. When a passport is suspended, the user's right to leave the country is suspended. If the user is entering the country, it will be a one-way trip. It is not a question of whether the passport is valid. A passport can be valid and, at the same time, it can be suspended. The government is basically saying "yes, the passport was legitimately issued, but the user cannot use it for exiting the country while it is suspended."

Does that answer your question in a helpful way?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The attorney I have retained said that she is going to see the Attorney General's office in Georgia to present my case with payment proofs. She also said that possibly the State will view the pre/extra payments as gift not child support. Do you agree?

Do I agree that it's possible? I should clarify that because the nuances of every situation are different, this information should not be construed as complete or advice without consulting in person with counsel. That said, it's certainly "possible", but it's normally not logical to view a monetary transfer to a parent owed child support as a gift while a child support order goes unpaid. Let's say that you owe $1,000 in child support. Why would you or anyone in their right mind give the parent owed that money $1,000 and consider it a gift instead of a child support payment? Typically, it would be extremely difficult or impossible to argue with a straight face that, while support is due or in arrears, any monetary transfer is a gift instead of a payment toward child support.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I paid off the entire amount due of 111 months in 48 months. now, 114 months later, the US consulate tells me that I have Child support in the arrears. if fact, I have documentation indicating that I have over paid the total required amount by $120,000. Some how my ex went to the Child Support stating that I did not pay, thus, putting me in the arrears. Do you think this is an easy resolution for the Attorney General's office?


so by default my passport is in a suspended status?

Well, if payments are made directly to the recipient parent, the child support enforcment office wouldn't have record of the transfer, so it is easy for recipient parents to claim that they never received the funds when the payments are direct. Most parents pay to the child support office, and the child support office pays to the parent, but (from a legal perspective) there is generally nothing wrong with paying to the parent directly.

That said, if there is adequate documentation of direct fund transfers, a claim of non-payment can usually be extinguished rather quickly. The only time an evidence problem usually arises is when the payments are made in cash and the recipient parent does not provide any sort of receipt. In plain English, if the proper documentation is there, any dispute over what may have been paid can typically be resolved relatively quickly and easily.

I can't say if your passport is suspended at this exact moment, but if the child support enforcement office reported arrears in excess of $2,500 to the State Department, it's usually a safe bet that your passport will be suspended very soon if it hasn't been already. The State Department will notify you when a suspension goes into effect, but there may be a slight delay between the time of the suspension and the time that you receive notice.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

yes, all payment records are bank deposit and electronic checks.


so going straight to the Attorney General's office is the right approach?

Hi again. I can answer any questions about the law, such as your original question, but because I have only one piece of one half of the story in a matter involving people I have not met and a case I have not examined, it would be irresponsible for me to endorse a strategy and it would be ill-advised for you to rely on on my endorsement even if I gave one. So I can't responsibly say that going straight to the AG's office is the right approach in this specific matter because that is not a question of law but a question of strategy. Please understand that this has nothing to do with my desire to answer your question, but I am only in a position to answer questions about the law and its procedures.

That said, going to straight to the AG's office is certainly the best option for many cases. The AG doesn't want to waste its resources pursuing child support that isn't due--the tax payers do not appreciate it--so if proper documentation of payment is presented to the AG's office, they typically have no problem updating their records to reflect what has actually been paid. If your attorney believes that is right for your case, it would be a normal means of resolving the problem, so I would typically have no reason to doubt that course of action for any given case.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Would there be a problem if I going and out of US with another countries passport? even if I am an US citizen.

The U.S. State Department can only suspend U.S. Passports. It cannot suspend the passport of any other country.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

As dual citizen Can I go to the US as a non US citizen?


Will US know about my dual citizenship? can they cross reference?


Hi again.

1. "As dual citizen Can I go to the US as a non US citizen?"

A. Non US citizens can enter the United States, but they typically have to get a visa to do so. Any citizenships would have to be disclosed during the visa process.

2. "Will US know about my dual citizenship? can they can they cross reference?"

A. Under ordinary circumstances, an individual's citizenships will be discovered by the government.

BotXXXXX XXXXXne, if any U.S. citizen is abroad and owes more than $2,500 in child support, they can expect to be unable to leave the U.S. if they enter the country, unless/until the child support arrears are resolved or reduced below $2,500.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

if I have to exit the US for employment purposes. Do you think they will make an exception?

I'm glad that you asked that. Instead of an outright suspension, it is possible for a passport to be merely restricted or limited to permit travel outside the U.S. That said, permission to go out of the country for work is frequently requested by child support debtors and normally denied. I can't say whether there is a compelling exception in your specific case, but I can say that the odds are generally very low for any given case, and I can't emphasize enough that if any U.S. citizen is abroad and owes more than $2,500 in child support, they can ordinarily expect to be unable to leave the U.S. if they enter the country, unless/until the child support arrears are resolved or reduced below $2,500.
Naturally, if the money to be earned would go toward child support, and if the debtor is hoping to exit the U.S., the odds of being released would increase dramatically if
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

in my case I paid everything off in advance and every children are emancipated. I do not owe any child support, other than she falsely/erroneously claiming. Therefore, would like to go to the US to clear the situation and I also have a job interview.

Correct! That's it exactly. I wish you the best.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


can you point out specific court cases, where the non-custodian parent paid extra money in advance to the custodian parent and it was considered as future child support payment without an actual written consent/acceptance from the custodian parent. thanks.

Hi. The site technically requires new threads for new questions. We have some discretion when working with customers and I don't mind clarifying answers already given, but I work for ratings and I have not received one despite my time investment. At this juncture, I will need a rating before I consider any new questions. Thanks.
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