Can You Go to Jail for Not Paying Child Support?

Child Support Payments Can You Go to Jail for Not Paying Child Support?

Can You Go to Jail for Not Paying Child Support?

Are you concerned that you may be unable to meet your child support obligations? If so, your next question is likely to be, "Can you go to jail for not paying child support?"

You could go to jail for up to six months for not paying child support. This is not a new concept – it has been around for the past century or so. Fortunately, you can avoid going to jail, but this requires a deep knowledge of how the child support laws in your state work.

Alternatively, you can use DoNotPay to request modifications to your child support payments and avoid going to jail. Here is an overview of how it works.

Budgeting Tips for Child Support Payments

More than 50% of parents who owe child support are inconsistent in their payments over the duration of the payments, which is a legal liability. Fortunately, the following two budgeting tips can help you become consistent in your child support payments:

Reduce Unnecessary Spending

Child support payments can take up a significant portion of your overall budget. As such, it is advisable to reduce how much you spend on non-essential things. Consequently, it is recommendable to make a new budget with the child support payments included.

Set Up Automatic Payments

It is easy to forget your child support obligations at the end of the month. This results in arrears, which can get you jailed. Consequently, it is advisable to set up automatic payments by authorizing deductions from your paycheck or bank account.

Child Support Guidelines by State

The entire process for child support payments can be overwhelming as each state has different rules and regulations. Fortunately, DoNotPay has child support guides for each state. Check out yours below:

DelawareMinnesota Wyoming
South CarolinaKansasNorth Dakota
Rhode IslandNebraskaMississippi
New MexicoOhioArkansas
New HampshireNevadaArizona
AlabamaKentuckyWest Virginia
IdahoMassachusetts Georgia
Washington StateColoradoIndiana
CaliforniaNew YorkNew Jersey
FloridaNorth Carolina Wisconsin

What Are Arrears in Child Support Payments?

It is always advisable to pay at least a fraction of the child support payments if you cannot afford to pay the full amount. The unpaid balance is referred to as arrears.

Child support arrears do not go away until they are paid in full – instead, they accumulate over time. Additionally, arrears can incur interests at a rate of 10% per month. They are categorized into two types:


The custodial parent can ask for financial assistance from the state and use the arrears as evidence of your failure to meet your obligations. In this case, the unpaid arrears are assigned to the state, meaning that you will pay the state instead of the custodial parent.


The custodial parent may get their request for financial aid denied – or they may choose to wait until you can pay up. In this case, the debt is unassigned and is owed to the custodial parent.

How to Legally Avoid/Lower Child Support Payments

Child support payments are not set in stone. To this end, you can request for changes to your child support payments, including lowering them or eliminating them altogether. The legal process is referred to as a modification.

Experts recommend seeking a modification to your child support payments only if there is a significant development to support it. Good reasons to request modifications include:

  1. Involuntary job loss
  2. A chronic illness
  3. A major improvement in the custodial parent's salary
  4. A major milestone in the child's life that reduces their financial expenses (such as finishing school)

You must have strong evidence to get your modification request approved. It is also advisable to hire a lawyer – alternatively, you can use DoNotPay's automated legal services.

Next Steps for Avoiding/Lowering Child Support Payments if You Can't Do It Yourself

You risk going to jail if you default on your child support payments. To this end, it is advisable to use the available legal avenues (as explained earlier) or try your best to make the payments. Alternatively, you can try to reach a temporary agreement with the custodial parent agreeing to lower or pause the payments until you get back up on your feet.

Avoid Going to Jail for Not Paying Child Support with the Help of DoNotPay

You can go to jail for up to six months for failing to pay child support. Additionally, you can be fined up to $500 and incur additional expenses such as attorneys' fees. Fortunately, you can avoid all this by requesting a modification to lower or erase your child support payments.

Requesting a modification to your child support payments can be a long and frustrating process, and retaining an attorney eventually proves too expensive. Fortunately, DoNotPay automates the process in three easy and quick steps:

  1. Search child support on DoNotPay and enter the details of the person who owes the payments.


  2. Tell us more about the payment schedule, including the amount and frequency of the payments, the last payment they made and number of missed payments, and how much they owe you in total.


  3. Confirm your contact information and select whether you want us to mail or email the letter on your behalf. Choose how you would like to receive the payment and verify your signature.


Why Use DoNotPay to Avoid Going to Jail for Not Paying Child Support

Ideally, you should always utilize every opportunity available to stay out of jail for whatever reason, including failure to pay child support. DoNotPay offers three additional irrefutable reasons why you should use the platform.

  • It’s Fast – DoNotPay fast-tracks the modification process, saving you a lot of time.
  • It’s Easy – The platform handles everything, and all you have to do is file the initial service application form.
  • It’s Successful – You stand a higher chance of getting your modification request approved using DoNotPay.

So, are you looking to lower or erase your child support payments? Join us today!

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