Will I Go to Jail for Not Paying Child Support Payments?
The last few months have been hard on you. You lost your job and have yet to find a new one. Your unemployment check just barely pays for your rent and utilities. Your savings are rapidly being depleted. In an attempt to stay above water, you being missing payments. First, it’s your credit cards, then it’s your car loan. Finally, you start missing child support payments. Your ex is not pleased and threatens to take legal action against you. You’re frightened — could you go to jail for not paying your child support?
Going into debt can be a scary and stressful time and falling behind in your bills can equally be just as nerve-wracking. And just like what happens when you fail to pay your bills, missing child support payments can become a criminal act. If you fail to pay your child support, your ex has a few options such as return to court to have the judge issue orders on collecting overdue funds (such as garnish your unemployment payments). Another option is to contact the Office of Child Support Services (OCSS).
The purpose of OCSS is to enforce child support laws. It does this in the following ways:
- Locate the absent parent
- Establish paternity of a child born outside of wedlock
- Set up child and medical support obligations
- Collect, process, and distribute child support payments
- Enforce child support obligations
This office has many tools at its disposal to make sure payments are made. For example, the office can seize any bank accounts, stocks, or bonds you have to make sure the debt is paid. OCSS can suspend your license, report you to credit bureaus, and even have the federal government suspend your passport. The office can also take you to court and get a warrant issued for your arrest. So yes, you can go to jail for not paying child support.
However, there are ways to protect yourself. You may want to petition the court to ask for the child support payment plan to be modified because of a change in your economic situation. Your best option is to speak with a New Jersey child support lawyer to find out what your options may be.
If you are in need of a family law attorney in Jersey City, let us help. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation.