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Parents who fail to pay child support may end up in jail

While most Missouri parents attempt to pay the child support that they owe, there are others who fail to provide the financial support that their child may be in need of. In some cases, parents who fail to pay may end up in jail. While it may be believed that this is a just sentence, there may be a legitimate reason that some non-custodial parents are not making their child support payments.

Prior to being incarcerated, the courts have the ability to withhold a certain percentage of a person’s income if they refuse to or are unable to pay the full amount of owed child support. Authorities have the ability to withhold up to 65 percent of income, which can be detrimental for those who may be unable to pay their rent or other bills. If the child support goes unpaid long enough, the authorities could potentially seize bank accounts, freeze assets and even suspend the person’s driver’s license.

An attorney for the Southern Center for Human Rights explained that many poor parents often find themselves going to jail over and over for being unable to pay child support due to their economic situation. Once the parents are released, they are given a certain amount of time to make the back payments; however, these payments often cannot be made and they end up going back to jail.

In the state of Missouri, child support payments are calculated based on a guideline that includes the non-custodial parent’s income. However, if the amount of earned income changes, the parent could potentially have trouble paying the ordered amount of child support. A family law attorney may help the parent by documenting the change in the person’s economic circumstance and help them file a motion to reduce the amount of owed child support.