Child support fraud is a term used to refer to the act of identifying ways to avoid paying as much child support as one should or to avoid the payment of child support altogether. An individual might engage in child support fraud by purposely avoiding employment, moving from job to job, working for cash, holding income and assets in the name of others or reporting less self-employment income than has actually been earned. It also is important for an individual to verify that an automatic means of payment, such as employer withholding, is functioning properly so that he or she does not engage in child support fraud unintentionally.
The amount to be paid in child support typically is directly linked to how much money an individual makes, so some people who are responsible for paying child support decide to avoid working. When no money is being made, no money can be paid in the form of child support. In some areas, unemployment income can be garnished in order to pay child support.
Another tactic used by some people to commit child support fraud is moving from one job to another. It is difficult to obtain money from an individual if his or her whereabouts are not known. Paperwork must be filed with the government when a new job is started, so this provides a way to track someone. After they are found, these individuals might then move on to another job, and the process of finding them must start all over again.
It is much easier to obtain child support when a paper trail exists. The amount paid typically is based on what someone earns, and if he or she is paid in cash, there is no paper trail to follow. This might mean that his or her earnings show up substantially less on paper or that he or she is not earning an income at all. Either way, the court system generally uses documented information on earnings to determine an amount to be paid.
Sometimes, if an individual holds many assets, he or she will attempt to place them in the name of others. This prevents these assets from entering into the child support equation. This type of fraud might take the form of putting a house in another person's name or putting a bank account in a child’s name.
Self-employed individuals might commit child support fraud by reporting less income than they actually earned. Many times, the court must base its decision on what is recorded on paper. If a self-employed individual has been paid in cash or used some sort of creative accounting method, then his or her records might show less than what was actually earned.