If you’re not able to pay your court-ordered child support, a contempt of court charge is probably the last thing on your mind. After all, you can’t exactly make that payment any other way. But if you fail to meet the terms of your child support agreement, you could end up with a contempt of court charge. With that said, what does it mean to be in contempt of court? And how can you get out of those charges? Here’s what you need to know. As difficult as it might be to hear, most parents cannot afford to spend every single day going from one kid event to another until their golden years. Instead, most parents must work with a judge and sign an affordable child support agreement as part of their divorce settlement or paternity case with the other parent.
How To Get Out Of Contempt Of Court Charges For Child Support
1. Pay what you owe
In most cases, if you owe the court-ordered amount of child support, you will likely be charged with contempt of court. However, if you have a problem with the amount of child support that’s been ordered by the court, you can file an appeal to get your child support adjusted. If your case is not appealed within two years of receiving the first payment order, a contempt of court charge will result. And yes, it’s possible to be charged with both contempt and non-payment at the same time.
2. Make arrangements with your ex
If you don’t have enough money to make all payments that are required under your agreement, talk to your ex (or his or her lawyer) about alternative payment plans that may work for both parties. You can also ask for an extension on when payments must be made so that there isn’t a late fee involved or other problems that may arise as a result of not meeting the terms of your agreement. And if you can’t make payments on time, you may be able to negotiate with your ex for a lower amount or extend the payment schedule.
3. File an appeal
If you don’t want to make payments under the terms of your agreement, or if you want to lower the amount that’s been ordered by the court, it’s important to file an appeal with the court as soon as possible. The appeal process will allow you to explain why you don’t have enough money to meet all of your child support obligations and why a lesser amount is more affordable for both parties. If you can convince a judge that paying less than what is required is more affordable for both parents and that it will help both parents work toward their goals in life, then he or she may consider reducing or eliminating any charges related to contempt of court.
4. Pay all past due amounts
If you’re required to pay past due amounts, you can avoid being charged with contempt of court if you pay all past due amounts before the date on which the fine will increase. However, if you don’t make these payments within 60 days after they are due and before the fine amount increases, then you will be charged with contempt of court.
5. Ask for a reduction in child support
If your child support payment is too high, you may be able to make a request to have it reduced. If your ex is willing to reduce the amount that he or she has been ordered to pay by the court, then he or she may agree to do so. However, if your ex does not agree to reduce your child support order, then you may be able to file a motion for modification with the court and ask for a lower amount in order for both of you to meet your financial obligations.
6. Ask for an increase in child support
If your child support payment is too low, you may be able to make a request to have it increased. If your ex is willing to increase the amount that he or she has been ordered to pay by the court, then he or she may agree to do so. However, if your ex does not agree to increase your child support order, then you may be able to file a motion for modification with the court and ask for an increase in order for both of you to meet your financial obligations.
7. Keep records of all payments
When making child support payments, it’s important that you keep detailed records of all payments made toward each child’s support obligation. These records should include dates and amounts paid as well as copies of any documents submitted with these payments. It’s best practice for you and/or your lawyer to submit these documents at various times throughout the year so that the court can confirm receipt of each payment made toward each child’s support obligation.
8. Report any changes in income or employment
If you have a significant change in your income or employment, then you should report this to the court as soon as possible. In some cases, a change in your income may cause your child support payment to increase, while a change in your employment may cause your child support payment to decrease.
Why You Might Get A Contempt Of Court Charge For Child Support?
1. Not paying child support
Your child support obligation is legally required of you and is not part of your visitation or custody agreement. If you don’t pay your child support, then you may be charged with contempt of court and may face jail time.
2. Not providing requested information
If you don’t provide requested information, then you may be charged with contempt of court. For example, if you have failed to provide the names, addresses and phone numbers of employers for each child or if you have failed to provide the names, addresses and phone numbers for each parent’s current health insurance provider for each child as required by a court order then you may be charged with contempt of court.
3. Failing to make payments on time
If you fail to make child support payments on time as ordered by the court (usually 30 days after the due date), then this could result in a charge against your record for contempt of court.
4. Filing for bankruptcy
If you file for bankruptcy in order to avoid child support payments, then this could result in a charge against your record for contempt of court.
5. Failing to pay child support while incarcerated
If you are incarcerated and fail to pay child support while incarcerated, then you may be charged with contempt of court.
6. Filing a motion to modify child support
A motion to modify child support should be filed by the custodial parent (the parent with whom the children live). A motion will be granted if the non-custodial parent agrees to any changes that are requested by the custodial parent. If you file a motion and your ex does not agree with certain changes requested by the custodial parent then you may be charged with contempt of court.
7. Filing for a modification of child support
If you are the non-custodial parent and you file for a modification of child support, then this may result in contempt of court charges.
8. Making false statements to the court
If you make false statements to the court (for example, if you make up information about your income), then this could result in contempt of court charges.
9. Forgery or fraud
Forgery or fraud is an attempt to obtain something that is not yours by using fraudulent means, such as lying or forging documents. If you commit forgery or fraud, then this could result in contempt of court charges.
If you’re worried about falling behind on child support payments, don’t hesitate to seek help. Whether you need assistance arranging a payment plan or just have questions about the process, there are always people you can turn to. Likewise, if you’re worried that the other parent will get in trouble, you should know that federal law protects mothers and fathers from being arrested for failing to pay child support. That said, there are plenty of other serious consequences that can come with a contempt of court charge. Be sure to seek help as soon as you can if you’re in trouble.