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Failure to pay child support could result in jail time

Anyone with children knows that raising them is an expensive endeavor. In the best of situations, many parents have problems making ends meet. However, some people rely on a co-parent to help with the costs of caring for children. When this person fails to provide their share of the finances, the situation for both the children and caregiver can deteriorate. In addition to poorer conditions for children, parents in Massachusetts who fail to make court-ordered child support payments can face serious consequences.

One county's recent roundup of those people accused of being delinquent in child support payments illustrates the potential consequences of such a failure. Recently, approximately 18 people have been taken into custody on contempt charges for failure to make court-ordered payments. Officials have announced their intention to make more arrests in the coming days.

Those most recently arrested face a variety of consequences. Some may simply need to explain to the court how they will catch up with their payments. However, some of those arrested owe so much they may end up spending 30 to 60 days in jail. According to representatives, felony charges could potentially be filed against those who continue to fall behind on payments.

It is understandable that a Massachusetts parent experiencing a job loss or long term illness may have difficulty making court-ordered child support payments. However, these parents can take action before a failure to pay lands them in jail. For example, judges will often take into consideration a person's significant change in circumstances and allow a child support modification. In such cases, it is important to remember the impact that missing payments can have on children and maintain an open line of communication with all parties involved.

Source: Circleville Herald, Deputies target suspects with child support warrants, Trish Bennett, Dec. 27, 2013

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