The Basics of Incarceration and Child Support

The Basics of Incarceration and Child Support

The law recognizes that fit parents (who have not given up their parental rights) have the right to raise their children with a great deal of freedom. For example, parents generally choose where their children attend school, whether they receive medical care, what religious traditions they are exposed to, and where they live. Alongside the rights that accompany legal recognition of parenthood come certain responsibilities under the law. Among these responsibilities is the requirement that parents provide financial support for their minor children. When parents fail to provide court-ordered child support payments, they risk numerous legal consequences. Among the most severe consequences imposed as a result of delinquent child support is incarceration.

Incarceration and Child Support: The Basics

Incarceration may be imposed as a consequence for habitual non-payment of child support as a result of a criminal non-support action or as a result of civil contempt charges. It is possible to avoid jail time (if you currently owe an outstanding amount of child support) if you work with an experienced family law attorney to modify your existing child support orders or otherwise work with the court to establish a “catch up” payment plan. However, if a great deal of time has passed since you made good on your child support obligations, you may risk jail time by continuing to fail to pay.

If your child’s other parent owes child support and is currently incarcerated as a result of charges that have nothing to do with his or her child support obligations, you may want to consult an experienced attorney about your situation. The family legal system may have resources available to you and your child during this challenging time. 

Answers to Questions About Child Support

If you are behind on your child support payments, you need to enforce an existing child support order, or you have questions about child support matters in general, please consider scheduling a consultation with an experienced family law attorney at your earliest convenience. Depending on your circumstances, an attorney may be able to obtain delinquent payments, modify your existing orders, or catch up on any payments you owe while minimizing the consequences traditionally associated with habitually late or missing child support payments.

In general, it tends to be easier to “right” a challenging child support situation if you act relatively soon after delayed or delinquent payments first become a problem. While it is certainly not impossible to correct a challenging child support situation that has been building for some time, it may take some creative problem solving, time, and effort to work things out. What is most important to remember is that outstanding child support payments cannot generally be discharged or timed out. As a result, if you owe or are owed missing child support payments, the situation should be addressed one way or another. An experienced lawyer, like a child support lawyer from Pioletti, Pioletti, & Nichols Attorneys at Law, can help you to do just that.