Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act [DPPA] Law and Legal Definition

Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act is a Federal statute that makes it a felony for parents to cross state lines with the intention of getting out of child support payments. It also provides strict guidelines for the punishment of these so-called deadbeat parents. The term "deadbeat parents" refers to parents who have failed to pay the required child support payments.

The Act provides felony penalties if :

1. a person travels across state lines intending to evade a child-support obligation that is over $5,000 or that has remained unpaid longer than one year, or

2. a person willfully fails to pay support for a child living in a different state if that obligation is greater than $10,000 or if it remains unpaid for more than two years.

In addition to these punishments, a parent found to be in violation of his or her legal obligation to support his or her children will be placed on probation. Violation of the probation terms will result in additional jail time. The specific terms of deadbeat probation include:

  • The parent must financially support his or her children, as per their legal obligation.
  • The parent must pursue employment in order to continue making the support payments. If the parent is unemployed, he or she will perform community service.
  • The parent will appear at all necessary court functions, specifically child support hearings.

The Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1998, as an amendment to the Child Support Recovery Act of 1992.