Although there are few people who question that parents have an obligation to support their children, there are a growing number of individuals who are concerned that putting people in jail for failing to pay child support is making the problem worse. It is believed that those who are able to pay support but refuse to will be influenced by the threat of jail, but it will only create a cycle of debt and imprisonment for those who truly cannot afford to meet their court-ordered obligations.

Part of the problem is that some parents are ordered to pay child support that they cannot afford. This is exacerbated when they are threatened with and put in jail for not paying what they owe.

It is not uncommon for individuals who have gotten out of jail to have a limited amount of time, sometimes just three months, to pay back a large amount of back child support. When they are unable to afford to do so, they end up back in jail. In addition to jail time, those who do not stay current on payments may have bank accounts or tax refunds seized as well as having their driver’s license suspended.

Child support payments can be essential to a single parent’s ability to make ends meet since raising children can be so expensive. When someone fails to meet their obligations, the custodial parent has a variety of options available to seek support. Along with facing jail time, a parent who is not making payments may also have their wages garnished or a lien put on their property. A lawyer may be able to explain to a custodial parent other legal options that may be available in this regard.

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