Courts are brutal when it comes to not supporting your kids, and they should be. It took both parents to make a child, and it takes both parents' income to provide for a child. That said, when your ex takes you to court for contempt over child support, you are in some very hot water indeed. Here is what a contempt of court charge for child support means, why you may be facing criminal charges, and how to fix it.
The Contempt of Court Charge
Usually, in a divorce, there is a preset amount of child support that both parents are expected to pay to support the children. If one parent is indigent, then the other parent is expected to pick up the slack and provide the state-set required amounts to the other parent. This is especially true if primary placement is with the indigent parent, and no amount of poverty excludes you. Back child support does accrue, and your ex can bring you into court every time you get a job in order to extract that child support. Being in contempt means you have intentionally withheld money from your ex.
Why You Might Be Facing Criminal Charges
A contempt of court charge may be purged, that is, there is a set of requirements made by the judge that would remove the contempt of court charge if you complete the requirements. In regards to child support, that typically means paying or repaying a certain amount of money to your ex to momentarily satisfy the situation. If you choose not to follow the judge's orders, or you fail to follow them because you cannot, you could face jail time or have fines added to your sentence. This also goes on record in family court and does not make you look good in the eyes of the court with regards to future custody and placement hearings.
How to Fix It
Point blank, follow the judge's requirements to purge the contempt charge. If you cannot, in good faith, meet all of the requirements, do your best to meet most of them. When you have to go back into court for a second contempt charge on the same matter, your criminal and family law attorney can show that you did everything you possibly could to meet the judge's demands. Then the judge might be more lenient and forego a sentencing by providing you with more time to complete the previous requirements.
For more information, contact Patricia L Riddick PLLC Atty or a similar legal professional.