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Can you go to jail if you don't pay child support?

Many people who struggle to pay child support have one question in their minds, "Can I go to jail if I can't pay child support?" Whether you intend to pay or not, it's important for people who struggle with child support payments to take steps to address these challenges instead of hoping the problem goes away.

Child support is supposed to provide for children, guaranteeing them a life that is supported as if they have two parents in the home. It covers medical expenses, clothing, food, shelter and other necessities as well as extracurriculars.

The trouble is that many people claim they can't afford to live and pay support at the same time. It's true that child support can be costly, but that doesn't mean it can go unpaid. Still, if there is a real reason that someone can't pay, they have the ability to file for a modification of child support with the courts, allowing the judge to decide if they can reduce what they owe each month. In the majority of cases, every parent who owes support has to pay at least something to the other parent in terms of support each month.

What happens if you don't pay support or seek a modification?

Sadly, those who don't pay support can face penalties such as imprisonment, but it's most likely that they'll face wage garnishment, passport denials or have income tax refunds intercepted. The reality is that parents have to work to pay support, so jail is normally the last option the courts want to use to penalize a parent.

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