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Can you get in trouble for paying excess child support?

You know that you have to pay child support in accordance with the court order that was handed down at the time of your divorce. It's critical to follow this order to the letter, paying the right amount and paying it on time. Failing to do so can lead to a whole host of issues, possibly including jail time and wage garnishment.

But can you get in trouble if you break the agreement by paying too much?

Every now and then, you hear rumors about this. For example, one story claimed a father paid more than he was supposed to pay to support his son, and he was thrown in jail for violating the court order. He got 180 days.

While that case did happen, it was not because he paid too much. He actually did not pay what he owed on time, and he was behind by about $3,000. Some reports indicate that his support order may have been altered, legally modifying his obligations, and that he didn't know. Regardless, he fell behind significantly.

The story got a lot of press because he did try to make things right by paying the mother's court fees and paying the $3,000 that he owed, but he'd already violated the order in the traditional way -- by not paying enough on time -- and so that was the basis of the ruling. He wasn't put in jail for owing nothing or paying too much.

If you have been ordered to pay child support, it is incredibly important to know what legal obligations you have and how to follow them perfectly. However, you don't need to worry about any rumors that overpaying is illegal. It is not. You just have to hit the minimum.

Source: Snopes, "Supporting Evidence," David Mikkelson, accessed Dec. 09, 2016

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