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Can I Go to Jail for Not Paying Child Support?

If you have not been paying child support, you may be worried about going to jail. This is a  possibility. There is a wide range of penalties one can face, and jail time may occur in extreme cases. Read on to learn about jail time and other methods of child support enforcement.

Some parents go to great lengths to avoid paying child support. Others want to provide for their children, but can not due to a lack of pay. In many cases, they ignore the child support orders and face huge penalties.

When a couple with children splits up or divorces, the non-custodial parent is often forced to pay child support. Child support is mandated by the state and must be paid as mandated by the court. When the parent does not pay child support, it hurts the children and the other parent. The other parent does not get the money he or she needs to support the child, which means the child may not get the essentials he or she needs, either.

Child Support Enforcement

If a parent fails to pay child support, there are a variety of penalties he or she can face. The government can intercept tax refunds and lottery winnings to pay the debt. They can also seize bank accounts and other assets. The person’s driver’s license can also be suspended or have his or her passport application denied. A professional license can be revoked, as well.

If the parent has a warrant for arrest and fails to show up in court, this is called being in contempt of court. This means that the person has willfully disobeyed the court. As a result, that person can face jail time.

To avoid a charge of contempt of court, the parent needs to communicate with the court. If a parent can not make child support payments for some reason—such as illness or unemployment—he or she can file a motion for child support modification.

Will I Go to Jail?

There are many penalties a parent can face for not paying child support. While jail time is one of them, this is often used only as a last resort. A person not paying child support for a couple months likely will not go to jail. The state will enforce other penalties first.

The state does not like to enforce jail time, as it will not help a parent become current on child support payments. Jail time keeps a person from working, and a  person will be much more likely to make payments if he or she can get and maintain a job.

Contact a Child Support Lawyer Today

Child support payments are a challenge for many parents, especially since they often have so many other bills to pay. The amount continues to add up, making it difficult for a person to make ends meet.

If you are having difficulty paying child support, do not ignore your court order. This can get you in serious legal trouble. Seek help from Brooklyn child support attorney Theodore Alatsas ESQ. He can help you modify your child support order to make payments more manageable. Calling (718) 233-2903 to schedule a consultation.