Child support is a critical thing to get right after a divorce or if you have a child with another person. Mistakes with payments are taken seriously and may get you thrown in jail. That said, it is possible to avoid this problem if you understand ways to defend yourself from ending up in jail or getting stuck in a difficult repayment cycle.
Jail Is A Real Possibility If You Don't Pay
Honest mistakes do happen when parents pay child support and are often well understood by a court. However, even an honest mistake may result in a contempt of court charge if you fail to pay your child support properly. In this scenario, the judge may issue a warrant for your arrest and put you in jail for up to 60 days.
When you get out, you'll still have to pay the money that you owe the other parent. Thankfully, you can defend yourself from these charges if you honestly misunderstood the orders and can prove it. For example, if you somehow thought you had to pay at a different time or thought you had to pay a different amount, you may be able to stay out of jail.
You Can Avoid Jail Time
If you honestly misunderstood your child support payments and didn't deliberately go against the court or judge's order, you might be able to avoid jail time. Visit the court that has stated that you are in contempt and set up a presentation and defense for your child support failure. Most judges will set up a meeting with you before throwing you in jail.
At this meeting, you need to prove that you simply misunderstood the orders and tried to follow them to the best of your abilities. This can be hard to prove because it'll be primarily your word against that of the other parent. You will likely need testimony from someone who can state that you had attempted to pay child support under the assumption that you were doing it properly or sending the right amount of money.
If the court rules on your side, you'll still have to pay the money that you owe the other parent. That part of the deal can't be avoided, so it is important to save up and make sure that you set up a payment system for getting the money you owe to the other parent.
For more information, contact child support law services in your area.
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