If you wondered if it is possible to go to jail for not paying child support, the answer is yes; if you are late for a long time, you have that risk. The debt is usually reported to the credit bureau when you are more than thirty days behind in your payments.
At that point, the credit bureau will inform you to collect the arrears and evaluate the situation. If the arrears are due to major causes such as illness or similar problems, the jail will not be an alternative to pressure you.
Can I avoid jail time for nonpayment of child support?
Generally, the jail time is six months due to child support arrears. Authorization of the penalty is made under the legal basis of “contempt of court,” meaning that you are not following the orders given by the court.
In addition, a fine of $500 is typically attached, and attorney’s fees plus court costs are at your expense. During the proceeding, you are entitled to acquire representation by an attorney, and you may have one at no additional charge from the government if you meet either of these two conditions:
- You show that you do not have sufficient income to be responsible for the fees
- The result of the hearing is that you will go to jail
Failure to pay child support is considered an aggravated felony and has sufficient grounds to deport a non-U.S. citizen. Even though you are in jail, you will still be responsible for the child support order, so you will continue to pay the existing debt.
If you cannot afford the payments, you will have to ask the court to reduce the amount so that the payment matches what you can afford to pay each month while you are in jail.
What happens if you don’t pay child support?
Regardless of the reason for not making payments, this is considered a violation of a court order. By not making the payment, you are in contempt of court, even if it is only delinquency.
The situation may result in the judge ordering the immediate arrest. At first, it seems a complex and, for some, exaggerated order. However, the country’s laws ensure that all parents effectively comply with child support.
Other situations you may face if you fail to pay child support on time include revocation of your driver’s license, garnishment of your paychecks, revocation of your professional license, and loss of federal income tax.
Occasionally, the above actions are taken before an incarceration order is issued. But if the situation persists and there are no clear reasons why you are not making the payments, you will end up in jail.
Does the state pay child support if the father doesn’t
The state is not responsible for paying child support. If the responsible parent is difficult to locate, the state will make a small welfare payment, taking over a portion of the child support if the parent qualifies for that support.
Conversely, if the parent responsible for support is easy to locate, it will pressure the parent to comply. If the state can contact the absent parent and has already made child support payments, it will take the necessary steps to collect all the money contributed to the child.
How many can child support payments be missed before jail?
As mentioned above, there are different penalties for late child support payments. They tend to increase after 15 days when you have not made child support payments and received a delinquency notice.
Penalties are applied after 20 days of delinquency and become more severe as they increase. Initially, you will receive fines, a seizure of your bank account, or a tax refund.
Generally, it is considered a felony, and arrest is requested when you owe four months of child support, and the total debt is $2,500 or more. You will also face this if you have been previously convicted of nonpayment.
If you ever try to leave the state to avoid payments, you could also go to jail for attempting to evade the law.
What can I do to avoid going to jail?
You can take a few steps to avoid going to jail for delinquency. The first step is not to panic. To stay out of jail, take some of the following steps:
Make installments on late payments
Forget about not paying anything for the rest of your life; it only aggravates the situation. If you can’t catch up on the entire payment, start depositing as much as possible to lighten the bill.
No matter how little you can come up with, the important thing is that you show the court that you are meeting your obligation.
Begin the application for modification
Child support is calculated based on the obligor parent’s monthly earnings. If you had a good job with good potential for making large payments, but that has changed, you can ask for a modification.
You must show that you do not have the resources to continue making the same old payments. The court will then determine a new amount to fit your means and avoid penalties for falling behind.