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Dad flees country to escape child support

In a decision with implications for people from Florida who may try shirking their parental duties, the federal government reported that a man has pleaded guilty to moving to Southeast Asia to escape paying child support. The 60-year-old Missouri man agreed with the court that he owed almost $165,000 in child support and had not made any payments since Jan. 2005. The court will reach a final decision on sentencing, which could include prison, fines and restitution, after a probation officer completes a presentence report.

In 1996, a Missouri court ordered the father to pay $1,500 per month in child support. Later that year, the father moved to Thailand where he worked in upper management for a hotel company. At one point, he reportedly told an immigration officer that he would rather spend time in custody than comply with child support directives.

Documentation shows that he came to the U.S. via a circuitous route in 2007 for his daughter’s wedding in Illinois. In order to attend the ceremony, he first flew into Canada and then walked across the border with Washington. He went back to Thailand by the same route instead of taking a direct flight. However, authorities were watching in case he returned. When he was taken into custody in Los Angeles by immigration officials in 2012, he was carrying $7,800 in cash.

When the courts order child support after a relationship ends, the custodial parent often depends on that money to afford basic necessities. Various methods of enforcement may be available, including wage garnishment, bank account levies and forfeiture of professional licenses.

Source: The United States Attorney’s Office, “Former KC Man Pleads Guilty To Fleeing U.S. To Avoid Paying Child Support“, February 12, 2014