Can I Go To Jail For That?

An order or decree issued in a family law case concerning children generally includes a possession schedule and provides for the payment of child support. Unfortunately, parents don’t always comply with the order or decree. Texas law provides many remedies to a parent that has been denied possession of a child or that is not receiving child support.

child support paymentDenial of possession

A parent that refuses to present a child for court-ordered visitation is subject to numerous penalties. A parent that has withheld a child during a period of court-ordered visitation may be held in contempt. It is imperative to understand that a finding of contempt may result in imprisonment. In addition, the court is authorized to order periods of make-up possession to compensate a parent that has been denied his or her time with the child. It is also important to note that a parent that is denied visitation may be awarded attorney fees during the litigation process.

Failure to pay child support

Similarly, a court is entitled to enforce an order for payment of child support in Dallas with contempt. This means that a parent that fails to pay court-ordered child support may be ordered to jail. However, there are certain defenses that may be asserted. The nonpaying party may assert an inability to make payment. This requires proof of the following:

  • No ability to provide support in the amount ordered;
  • No property available to be sold, mortgaged, or pledged to obtain the amount ordered;
  • No ability to borrow the funds needed; and
  • No other source available to legally obtain the funds

If a nonpaying party establishes each of the above, then it is possible that nonpayment may not result in jail time. However, if the court finds that a parent has failed to pay court-ordered child support, then the nonpaying parent may be ordered to pay the attorney fees and costs incurred by the other parent.

legal child supportWhat can be done?

A parent that has been notified that he or she is delinquent in payment of child support may want to consider alternatives to litigation. First, be certain that the records at the child support are correct. Perhaps not all payments made have been credited to the account. Next, if there is an inability to pay the amount ordered because of a change in financial circumstances, the consider filing suit to modify the amount of child support. While the court cannot change the amount that has accrued, it is important to file suit to reduce the amount that is owed in the future.

Our team of lawyers has the experience to help you with your child support case in Keller, TX and the surrounding cities. We focus on providing our clients with the details they need in order to understand what happens when you fail to pay child support. If you need assistance with your case contact the law firm of David Kohm at (972) 362-6848 and we can help you get everything together to present to the judge.

Faun Rowland is an attorney that has been practicing in the area of family law for more than fifteen years. In addition, she has been an adjunct professor of law at Tarrant County College for approximately seven years. Faun is a member of the State Bar of Texas, State Bar of California (inactive), Tarrant County Bar Association, and the Tarrant County Family Law Bar

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