Can Unpaid Child Support Lead To Jail Time?
For any divorce with children, there must be child support agreements made to make sure there are court orders to ensure the best financial support for the children. Children need to move on with life after divorce. However, this is not always the case. Some parents fail to pay child support either because they lose their jobs, get sick, or even die. The problem arises when a parent is unable to abide by the child support orders without realistic reasons. When this happens, one may have their wages withheld, have seized bank deposits, or even have their driver's licenses suspended. Worse enough is being imposed a jail term. For failure to pay child support, a parent can find themselves in contempt of court, which is requested by the other parent due to failure to pay child support. When such takes place, the court orders a hearing to explain why the parent has failed to support. While every parent should support every child they make to the best of their ability, jails should be only for those who have the money but ignore court orders.
How Can I Avoid Jail Time For Child Support Failure
Unpaid child support is a big concern that should force one to know about San Diego child support services. Once you have been summoned for a court hearing, you may be put to jail for violating the court order to pay child support. However, there are situations where the judge or jury may be convinced that indeed child support payments are not possible and look out for other ways to ensure the child's best interests are protected. No judge will allow you to go scot-free without having reasonable evidence. You must explain why you lagged behind the payments through:
· Convincing the judge that you remained responsible even if you failed to offer support: For instance, if you lost a job, you must show you tried looking for another job. You can even provide the application or any letter you received from your prospective employer.
· Give reasons why you never requested for a modification hearing once you learned that you could not afford to pay child support: For instance, you may have been involved in a car accident or became sick to the point that you remained hospitalized for a definite amount of time. In such a case, be ready to produce medical records statements and give details of the doctor who was treating you.
· You we're ready to request a modification hearing but failed to get legal representation due to the lawyer’s fees: To prove this, you should have details of the lawyer you contacted. And also provide any relevant information related to initial consultations.
If you experience financial hardship that requires you to stop paying child support payments, you should seek formal child support modification from the court. Nevertheless, you may need to prove to the court that you can still provide some basic needs such as food or clothing. In such away, you can avoid jail time for unpaid child support. Having partial payments is better than total default.
What If I Fail To Attend To A Court Hearing
Remember that if you fail to attend a contempt of court, a warrant of arrest will be ordered, which later will result in a jail term. If you are not put in jail, you may be required to pay any arrears and then set up a schedule on how you will pay consequent support payments. All in all, the judge knows that someone in jail cannot make child support payments. They will lookout for ways to ensure they recoup back any unpaid support in other means such as posting bonds, wage garnishment, or through an income withholding order. However, if you have a child support case, the best way to ensure you don’t land in jail is to seek legal support from an experienced family lawyer. It’s worth noting that you cannot present a dispute with the other parent as an excuse for not paying support.
Speak To An Experienced Family Lawyer
Child support issues affect many. While no judge would prefer a parent to go to jail for failure to offer child support, going to jail is considered a useful persuasive method to the reluctant parents who simply ignore court orders. As such, it’s fraught with negative consequences. If you find yourself being unable to pay for child support, you should make a point of contacting the child support enforcement office. Working with an experienced family lawyer can help you prepare the right documents stating what has changed. You can also give information on how you are planning to pay your arrears. If your arguments are deemed legitimate, you will be guided on ensuring you pay child support concerning your current circumstances.