February 8, 2023 8:01 PM
Divorce Lawyers and Firms

How Far Behind in Child Support Before a Warrant is Issued?

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By Lonnie Nelson
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How far behind in child support before a warrant is issued

If you are in a child support dispute, you may have questions about how far behind you are. Generally speaking, you are not permitted to exceed three weeks in arrears. However, there are exceptions. In a case where you have not received any notice from the court, a warrant for your arrest can be issued. Then you would be jailed until you are able to make your payments.

Filing a motion for contempt

If you are behind in child support, filing a motion for contempt of court is the first step in the collection process. A judge may issue a warrant for your arrest if you fail to make your child support payments. You will also be required to pay fines and possibly jail time.

The California state may report your delinquent child support payments to the credit bureaus. This can have a negative impact on your credit rating. So, you should make sure that you have proof of all of your income. That can include wages, retirement benefits, unemployment compensation, and worker’s compensation.

In California, you can file a motion for contempt of court for failure to make your child support payments after being three months late. If you are past due for more than two years, you can be arrested and face felony charges.

Depending on the severity of the case, the court may order the non-custodial parent to pay a lump sum amount or serve time in jail. This is referred to as willful contempt.

Jail time for non-paying parent

If you are a noncustodial parent, you may face jail time for failing to make child support payments. It is a violation of a court order. The judge determines whether you are in contempt of the order.

In some states, if you are a noncustodial father, you may be facing up to six months in prison for failing to pay your support. You may also be fined.

However, jail is the last resort in child support cases. Judges only order incarceration after other efforts have failed. They recognize that a noncustodial parent cannot earn money to pay for his or her children.

The sentencing period varies from state to state, but in most cases, a noncustodial parent faces prison sentences of several years. Many parents without an attorney represent themselves, and are sentenced between a few years and 14 years.

For a parent convicted of non-support, the prison term can range from six months to four years. In some states, a conviction can be placed on probation for five years.

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