Falling behind on child support payments is a serious matter, and in some cases could result in criminal charges. Although it is somewhat rare for those who owe back child support to go to jail, there are a number of legal consequences for failing to pay.
First, because falling behind on child support is a violation of a court order, you could be considered in contempt of court. You would be served with an official document requiring you to attend a scheduled court hearing, where you will have the opportunity to explain why you have failed to make payment. You must show up to this hearing — if you don’t, the judge can issue a warrant for your arrest.
To that end, it’s highly recommended that you attend the contempt of court hearing and explain why you haven’t met your child support obligations. If it is due to extenuating financial circumstances, you can provide evidence of job loss, income reduction or other challenges that have impacted your ability to pay. Be prepared to show actual documentation, including pay stubs, medical records (if you’ve experienced a serious illness) and a statement from your current or former employer.
It’s important to note that even if you’ve stated your case to the best of your ability, the judge may still issue jail time for failing to pay child support. However, you are much more likely to avoid it if you sincerely try to explain your circumstances and why you have been unable to meet your obligations.
To learn more about child support and how you might navigate this difficult issue, speak with a skilled Minnesota family law attorney at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.
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