It is possible to be arrested if you don't pay child support. It can result in serious penalties to you and can even end up causing you to go to jail.
That happened recently to famous singer R. Kelly, who was taken from the courtroom by his legal team after attending a hearing over unpaid child support. The Cook County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said that he was being transferred to the county jail and detained due to the unpaid support. Now, he won't be able to be released until he pays back what he owes; $161,000 in back child support.
Cases like this make headlines because they involve celebrities, but the reality is that anyone can face jail over unpaid support. When other methods of obtaining past-due child support, like garnishing wages or restricting licenses, don't work, then jail is often used as a last resort.
What should you do if you can't afford to pay child support?
If you can't afford to pay what you owe, then it's important to talk to your attorney as soon as possible and to put in a request for a modification of child support. Continue paying as much toward the support you owe as possible until the court can hear your request.
When you ask for a modification, the court will want to see why you need it. Bring financial documents and information about any change in circumstances that now makes it impossible to pay the court-ordered amount of child support. With help, it's possible to have the amount you owe lowered by the judge.