Children in single parent households often depend upon income from a non-custodial parent in order to have their needs met. Child support payments are intended to meet these needs, which is why courts assign parents to make the payments. When parents are unable to do this, there can be severe consequences for that parent. One father in Massachusetts recently discovered this.
A Massachusetts court ordered the father in 1997 to start making child support payments for his son, who was born in 1995. The father was told to make payments of $77 per week. According to records, he has not made any payments since March 1998, at which time he made a $19 payment. By the time a complaint was filed, which occurred in December 2011, the sum of all of the father's past payments was $461.
The man now faces serious consequences due to charges of missed child support payments. A court has given him 5 years of probation and ordered him to pay $60,212 of unpaid child support. The judge could have sentenced him with up to two years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
In cases involving unpaid child support, prosecutors must prove that individuals were ordered to make payments and that they did not make those payments. If that is found to be true, people charged with not paying child support can gather a defense that supports their inability to make payments. This may result in courts offering lenience to the parent who was unable to make payments. There are many defenses available to individuals in similar situations. Even in cases that could result in being sentenced to time in prison, such as this one, there are ways to bargain so that individuals can substitute this time with probation.
Source: Bangor Daily News, "Judge orders Mass. man to pay more than $60,000 in back child support," Judy Harrison, Feb. 22, 2013