A common occurrence in many child support situations occurs when the obligated parent fails to pay what is due. Case in point: A man has been cited with contempt charges stemming from his failure to pay child support for 14 children totaling over $80,000. A district judge ordered the defendant to pay $500 per month and $800 in back support by December 1 or face 180 days for each of 11 counts of failure to pay support.
The man was arrested but released to give him a chance to meet the judge’s orders to pay. If he fails to pay the money by the deadline, he will be taken to jail to serve out his sentence.
Judges nationwide sometimes choose to hold parents in contempt when they fail to pay child support because support payments are orders or directives of the court. Any violation of a court order is grounds for a contempt charge. In most cases, judges try to allow parents to return to work so that they can pay, but in extreme cases judges may incarcerate parents who have shown that they do not have any intention of abiding by the court order.
Parents who are divorcing must consider child custody and support as part of their ultimate divorce settlement. In some cases, parents cannot agree on these issues and a judge must make these decisions for them. Whether a judge sets the amount of child support or the parents agree upon the amount, the parents are required to abide by the ultimate court order that sets both the visitation schedule and the child support payment schedule. A divorce attorney can help parents understand the advantages and disadvantages of certain courses of action and decisions that will ultimately affect the circumstances under which they live after the divorce is finalized.
Source: Associated Press, “Neb. man owes back child support for 14 kids,” Oct. 25, 2012