Not paying child support in Massachusetts has severe consequences. The failure to pay child support in Massachusetts can lead to incarceration, loss of driver’s license and loss of eligibility to receive a U.S. Passport. The U.S. Department of State has taken a tough stance whethe con it comes to child support arrears. Unlike the loss of a driver’s license or being incarcerated, where the Court has discretion to not incarcerate or take away a driver’s license, the U.S. Department of State sets a firm number on the amount of arrears that disqualifies a person from receiving a U.S. passport.
If a person owes $2,500 or more in child support, then they are not eligible to receive a U.S. passport. If you or someone you know are in this situation and need a passport then you should do the following:
1)Pay your child support arrears so it is below $2,500.00 with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue;
2)Inform the Massachusetts Department of Revenue that they need to report payment to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
3)Follow up with the Department of Health and Human Services to make sure they provide the U.S. Department of State that you are no longer in arrears. [Code of Federal Regulations]
If you are in emergency need of your U.S. Passport and are not able to pay down your arrears to below $2,500.00, then you can try to petition the judge to order the Massachusetts Department of Revenue to inform the Department of Health and Human Services that payment arrangements have been made. In order for a Judge to do this, the party will need to have a compelling reason why (a) they have such substantial arrears and (b) why there is an emergency need for a passport.