Failing to pay child support can equal jail time

Failing to pay court-ordered child support is a serious offense and one that most judges don’t take to kindly too.

Recently one man was even sentenced to serve 270 days in prison, and five years of probation, for owing more than $55,000 in child support. At this point he’s already served 113 of those prison days, and has been credited for them.

According to the judge who sentenced the 38-year-old father, since 1994 when his son was born, he’s only paid child support three times.

In response to not paying, the father did say that he loves his family very much, and has even gone back to school, earned a diploma and is looking for work.

While the exact reasons behind why the 38-year-old father was behind on $55,000 worth of support is unknown, the man’s situation does highlight not only the steep penalties associated with failing to pay child support, but also that when a parent stops making payments, government officials do go out looking for them.

In the state of Missouri there is the Division of Child Support Enforcement. Among other things, one of the department’s priorities is to find noncustodial parents who have not been making their court-ordered child support payments.

However, the DCSE also works with parents who have fallen into financial hardships. Normally, DCSE reviews child support orders every three years, and makes modifications if there have been substantial changes to one of the parent’s circumstances, like income. And in cases where either parent is in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a request can be made for a modification review.

What’s important to remember is that there are legal options available when it comes to child support payments, and a parent should look into those options instead of just deciding not to pay, as failure to pay can have rather serious consequences.

Source: Niles Daily Star, “Man only made 3 child support payments since son born in ’94,” 19 Feb 2011

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