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Failing to pay child support could mean jail time

On Behalf of | Apr 14, 2022 | Family Law

It is likely that the vast majority of parents in Arkansas would agree that raising children can be very expensive. Unfortunately, financial hardships may arise when parents decide to divorce or separate. This is primarily the reason why child support laws were established. Child support is basically just a monetary payment made by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent to be used for the economic needs of the children. For those who neglect to pay court-ordered child support, there can be harsh consequences such as jail time. 


Many times, parents who fail to pay child support think that they can get away with it. However, it will eventually catch up with them. When a parent fails to pay court-ordered child support, the court may decide to hold them in contempt, which usually means fines in addition to what is already owed. However, the court can also choose to incarcerate the parent for non-payment of child support. This is the most serious consequence courts will use to enforce child support payment. 

Factors of consideration 

Before a parent is given jail time for non-payment of child support, courts will usually consider a few factors. 

  • Any reasons given for non-payment. For example, if paternity is in question, the court may decide not to hold a father in contempt until a paternity test has been finalized. 
  • The amount of child support owed or still outstanding. 
  • Employment status of the non-custodial parent. 

These days, it is a challenge to raise children with only one income. Parents in Arkansas who have questions or need assistance acquiring unpaid child support could benefit from discussions with a legal representative. An experienced and knowledgeable attorney can provide answers and use an understanding of the law to reinforce the parent’s position.