Failure to pay child support may result in jail time

Many divorced and separated parents with minor children are aware that depending on the custodial arrangement, the non-custodial parent may be court-ordered to pay the custodial parent child support. Paying child support is not only in the best interest of the child involved, but it also lets the non-custodial parent share in the financial costs of raising a child. However, there are times when child support disputes between parents arise or the parent ordered to pay child support may be unable to make the payment due to a change in circumstances.

Florida residents may find it interesting to learn that a 45-year-old local town councilman and mayoral candidate recently was arrested and charged with failing to pay court-ordered child support. He was sentenced to 45 days behind bars. The man has two children and, according to reports, he had over $15,000 in child support arrears. He owed one mother a little over $7,000 and another mother a little over $8,000. Apparently, the 45-year-old father faced similar charges in April of this year and at that time, faced 30 days in jail. This time, the man indicated that he had been chronically unemployed, had filed for bankruptcy and that his house was currently subject to foreclosure proceedings. Nevertheless, the court ordered the man to pay each of the mothers $90 every week.

In Florida, child support guidelines consider the income of both parents, childcare costs, education costs, healthcare costs and the amount of time that each parent spends with the child(ren) in calculating the child support amount. In particular, depending on the amount of time a child spends with the parents, child support may be reduced or completely eliminated.

Given the current economic climate wherein many are struggling to find gainful employment, some parents ordered to pay child support may not be able to make payments due to no fault of their own. In such cases, in order to prevent the negative consequences of failing to pay child support such as an arrest and jail time, it is essential to file the necessary paperwork with the court in order to seek a modification of child support of the current child support order.

Source: WIS, "Midlands councilman gets 45 days for failing to pay child support," Jody Barr, Oct. 7, 2013

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