Going to Jail for Nonpayment of Child Support

Although jail time may be a deterrent to avoiding child support obligations, some Colorado parents may get caught in a vicious debt cycle because of legal obligations and practical details. Those who clearly have the means to pay may not garner much compassion from the court system, but there are those whose situations can make it difficult to handle even the most basic costs for personal needs if support payments are met. For those who are able to pay, the threat of incarceration is often an effective way to enforce court-ordered support. However, those in more limited financial situations may benefit from alternative solutions.

One of the primary issues cited in recent studies is the fact that a steep payment requirement that is not affordable can lead to a parent occasionally or frequently missing payments. This can create significant delinquencies, resulting in potential warrants for arrest, wage garnishment, and suspension of professional or drivers' licenses. Each of these consequences can compound the problem of a parent's inability to pay. Short periods of time for large payments to be satisfied are impractical in such cases, and the cycle can worsen as a parent finds it impossible to emerge from such a level of debt.

Public opinion can influence those in lawmaking positions at times, and many hold the belief that an individual should not have children if they cannot support them. However, the delinquent parents' side of the situation has received attention due to the recent case of a fleeing parent being shot by an officer when the main fear of the parent was going to jail because of unpaid child support.

A parent whose child support obligations that have been made a part of the divorce decree can't be met may want to discuss their concerns with a lawyer. It may in some cases be possible to return to court to seek a modification based upon an adverse change in financial circumstances.

Tags: Divorce, child support

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