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Non-payment of child support can lead to jail time

Child support payments mean exactly what it says -- payments to support the child financially. In most divorce cases, separation cases or unmarried couple cases where there is court involvement, the court makes a determination about child support. Sometimes the parties can work out, among themselves, a payment schedule. However, often times, the court has to mandate a payment schedule that is appropriate for the situation.

A Providence Rhode Island man pled guilty in a Western Michigan federal court for willful failure to pay child support. He left Rhode Island 13 years ago in order to avoid paying child support. The man was arrested in Michigan earlier this year and now is about $300,000 in arrears on child support payments for his four children. Because this is a felony, if found guilty and convicted, the man could spend up to two years in prison and have to pay a fine of $250,000. Currently, the man owes over $325,000 in restitution.

The courts take child support very seriously and lack of payment is not an option. Because the courts use the best interest of the child standard in determining the amount of child support that is paid for the child, courts look harshly among people who choose not to pay.

Ignoring a court order for child support and avoiding payment can lead to jail time. This does not have to be the case however. Courts do consider the financial circumstances of the person ordered to pay. It is not the aim of the court to put someone in debt so that child support is paid. Requests for child support modifications are appropriate and are often times granted by the court.

Child support is necessary to ensure in assisting in the financial security of the children of divorce, separation or unmarried couples. Options are available to ensure the needs of the children are met.

Source: Providence Journal, "Former Rhode Island man pleads guilty to non-support charge," Tracy Breton, Sept. 7, 2012

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