Can I go to jail for not paying child support? 27 Answers as of September 02, 2011

I was ordered to go to court for child support, if I quit my job would I go to jail?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Gonzalez Law Associates P.C.
Gonzalez Law Associates P.C. | Carlos Gonzalez
Yes, it may be possible... If the court finds that you willfully didn't pay support they can seek to incarcerate you.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 9/2/2011
Meriwether & Tharp LLC
Meriwether & Tharp LLC | Patrick Meriwether
If the Court finds that you willfully violated a Court Order (i.e., not paying your child support), the Court can hold you in Contempt and order your incarceration until you "purge yourself" of the contempt by paying child support. Voluntarily quitting your job would not provide you with a defense to a Contempt of Court action.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 8/30/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Yes you can. The Judge has a lot of discretion in this matter, you do not want to press the issue and by the way, going to jail does not forgive the support, it will still be due when you are released.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 8/30/2011
The Coyle Law Office
The Coyle Law Office | T. Andrew Coyle
You can go to jail if you fail to make court-ordered child support payments. If you lose your job, you can request to have the support amount lowered to account for your loss of income, but that is not automatic - you must request it in court. If you quit your job and the judge does not believe you had a good reason to do so, the court may not allow you to reduce your support payment - so you may want to take that into consideration prior to quitting.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 8/30/2011
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
Yes. Jail sentences may be imposed for civil contempt, criminal contempt and based on criminal charges for non-support. If you voluntarily leave employment, that would certainly be a basis for contempt and, potentially, criminal charges for willfully failing to pay support.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 8/29/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    You can be held in contempt of court and held in jail when you fall behind in support after missing a certain number of payments. Voluntarily leaving your job is just digging a deeper whole for yourself. If there has been a change in income for either of you (other than voluntarily quitting your job) or you have other kids to support, you can file a petition with the court to reduce support. Next time keep it in your pants.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
    Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
    Voluntary unemployment can certainly be viewed as a willful refusal to pay child support and you may be held in contempt and incarcerated. I suggest you consult an experienced Family Law attorney to discuss your case in greater detail and learn all of your rights and options. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Apple Law Firm PLLC
    Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
    You can be held in contempt of court and put in jail for being in contempt of court until you do what is ordered by the judge.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    If a Court finds that you are in contempt for nonpayment then yes you could be placed in jail.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C.
    Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C. | Paul A. Eads
    No, but you would still be responsible for the child support and if CSSD is involved, they can issue a bank levy, tax intercept & take away your license.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    The Law Office of Erin Farley
    The Law Office of Erin Farley | Erin Farley
    Why would you want to quit your job? You have a child, and that child deserves your support. If you quit your job, the court will very likely impute income to you and an order will still ensue. That order will follow you wherever you go. You will accrue interest on the original amount, and you may well be ordered to pay attorney fees on top of that for any attempts at enforcement. Along with an exponentially accruing debt, the state has punitive measures for failure to pay: these include loss of your driver's license and can, eventually, include jail time. Better to bite the bullet - you created this child, and this child deserves two parents.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson | Kathryn L. Hudson
    If you become $10,000 or more behind in child support you could be charged with a felony and not paying court ordered child support is a contempt and a misdemeanor which could also put you in jail.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Almost certainly, and likely for a long time.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Yes, If a judge finds you in contempt of court for violating his orders, one possible penalty could be jail time.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    If you quit your job with no justification (justified examples: severely reduced hours by management, illness, disability) then the court could impute your last income as the basis for ongoing support. Thus, you've gained nothing but being unemployed with the same level of court ordered support.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    You may be found in willful contempt and incarceration is a possibility.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/28/2011
    Petit & Dommershausen SC
    Petit & Dommershausen SC | Tajara Dommershausen
    Yes, you can two different ways. Under civil contempt of court for up to 6 months. Or criminally, if you don't pay for 90 days you can be charged with a misdemeanor. If you don't pay for 120 days, you can be charged with a felony.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 8/28/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    It's possible you could be held in contempt and contempt can include jail time. In Washington if jail time is proposed, you can get a free attorney to defend you. Quitting your job will look pretty bad. If the court thinks jail time will make you pay somehow, you might spend some time in jail, be fined, pay the Mother's attorney fees and generally spoil your name and future chances of the court looking kindly at you. Why not stay employed?
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/28/2011
    Beresford Booth PLLC
    Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
    If you are quitting your job to avoid paying child support, the Court may find you in contempt and you may be incarcerated.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/28/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    Potentially. There are a couple of ways things could come to that. First, if you are held in contempt of court for failing to pay support, the court has the power to use jail or the threat of jail to force you to pay support. In addition, if you owe more than about $5,000 in back child support and cross a state line for the purposes of avoiding child support, you can be prosecuted federally. The state and the feds both have various other powers to encourage child support payment as well. The state can suspend your driver's license and any other licenses or certificates you may have. The feds can cancel your passport. In other words, the government is fairly serious about people not paying child support.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/28/2011
    Maclean Chung Law Firm
    Maclean Chung Law Firm | G. Thomas MacLean Jr.
    You could be sent to jail if you are held in contempt of court, and not paying child support that is ordered by the court is one way to be held in contempt. More importantly, even if you quit your job, you still will owe child support, and that will continue to accrue and build up interest. Child support is the obligation owed to help provide for your children, and you are better off working and making sure you make your support payments then trying to get out of it that will only cost you more in the long run and hurt your children also.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/28/2011
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    Although you cannot be incarcerated for "quitting your job," you can be incarcerated for willfully failing to comply with a child support order.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 8/28/2011
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    Based upon your comments, you could be found to be in contempt. You would be given an option to purge the contempt by paying your arrears or be sent to a half-way house to sleep there while they help you find work or you could be incarcerated or you could be sent to a Court-Appointed Work Counselling Program, etc.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/28/2011
Click to View More Answers:
12 3 4 Free Legal QuestionsConnect with a local attorney