In order to become naturalized as a United States Citizen, a permanent resident must meet the specified requirements. One of those requirements is for the applicant to show that they have good moral character within the statutory period. Good moral character can be found lacking in numerous situations, one of which is the failure to pay child support.
Child support is a very serious matter. The willful failure to pay support for any dependents can have grave consequences. If the person responsible for paying child support is a permanent resident, they may be unable to naturalize due to outstanding child support. Child support can be court-ordered or it can be a moral obligation to support one’s minor child(ren).
If you fall into this category by deserting a minor child, failing to pay child support, or obviously paying an insufficient amount, it is crucial you seek an attorney. As an applicant, you would have to disclose this information in your naturalization application. The applicant must disclose the knowledge of failing to support a minor child, the length of time of such non-payment, and the circumstances surrounding the situation. Even if you are currently in the process of repayment of arrears, the applicant must disclose it and explain any remedial steps. Or, the applicant may wait until s/he has satisfied the debt and may show proof of child support payments.
There are certain circumstances that a USCIS officer may consider the failure to pay child support, such as: unemployment, evidence of good-faith effort to pay child support, evidence of good-faith belief that applicant was no longer responsible for support of a minor child, and/or whether nonpayment is a miscalculation.
Overall, the failure to support a minor child is looked at carefully by USCIS officers. An attorney is critical in assisting the applicant in this process.