Have you missed making child support payments, and you are wondering how many child support payments can be missed before jail? In general, child support payments can be considered as late as the moment you promised to make the payments passes, and you haven’t made the payment yet.
Depending on the nature of your child support order, you can have a short grace period after which the court or the child support agency issues a “Notice of Child Support Delinquency.”
It’s after this notice that the court or state can give you punishments, including wage garnishment orders or placing liens against your personal property.
If you fail to pay child support for extended periods (6 months to over one year or when the amount owed surpasses $5000), a criminal warrant can be issued, and when arrested, you have to appear in court where you can be convicted.
Once convicted, you can be subjected to heavy criminal fines, a lengthy prison sentence, and even loss of parental rights.
Should you consult a lawyer for not making the child support payments?
Yes, you should definitely see child support lawyers about your predicament.
Remember, failing to make the payments directly affects your life, your child’s, and that of other family members that have to contribute money to support the child.
Considering all of these, you should highly consider having a sitting with your lawyer and agreeing on the way forward. If times are hard and you can’t continue making the payments, don’t sit back and hope things will get better or the payments will evaporate—consult your lawyer and quickly file for a modification of the amount of your child support payments.
In many states, some of the reasons that may entitle you to a modification order include:
- Losing a job or having to take on a job for less pay
- Increased school or healthcare costs that make it impossible for you to continue making the payments
- A medical or health issue that makes it impossible for you to work
How are the child support payments enforced?
The most severe method is by the contempt of court order. If you haven’t paid child support after the agreed time, your ex can go to court and request a hearing before a judge and ask that you are held in contempt of court.
You will then be served a file ordering you to participate in the hearing where you need to go and give your reasons for not making the payments. If you fail to show up for the hearing, the court can release a warrant of your arrest.
If you attend the hearing, you can still go to jail for failing to honor the court order, but this decision will vary depending on the judge and your reasons for not making the payments.
As mentioned above, you can face criminal prosecution if you haven’t made payments for over six months to a year.
What are the other punishments for failing to pay child support?
Besides going to jail, there are plenty of other ways the court can punish you. Some of these other ways include:
- Being prevented from renewing your driver’s license
- Having a lien placed on your property and car
- Your tax refund being withheld
- Your support payments are deducted from the money that the state owes you or from your lottery winnings.
To avoid all the issues that come with failing to make the child support payments, you should move with haste and file for modifications on your payments.
For an easier time, work with experienced divorce lawyers Fairfax VA that will help you in filing the modification and professionally represent you in court.