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Will losing your job send you to jail over child support?

On Behalf of | Aug 5, 2022 | Divorce |

Child support can be a frightening obligation. You have this constant requirement to make a sizable payment in addition to your personal cost of living expenses. Although you may understand that raising children is expensive, the amount that you have to pay every month can leave little room in your budget for personal comforts. You may need to plan carefully to maintain your standard of living while making the necessary contributions to your children’s upbringing.

When your income suddenly drops, such as when you lose your job, you may not be able to send your usual amount of support to your ex. You may not have any money in your bank account at all. When you fall behind on child support, it is only natural to worry about what kind of enforcement efforts you might soon face.

Do Kentucky parents with past-due child support run the risk of going to jail? 

The state does engage in aggressive enforcement efforts

The length of time since your last payment, the nature of your financial issues and the amount of past-due support that you owe will all influence how strict a judge is when forcing a child support order. The courts can take action when your ex requests support or when the state notices a significant back-due amount. 

Sometimes, enforcement efforts could involve the courts placing a lean against your property or issuing an order to intercept your tax return. Other times, they could potentially issue a warrant due to your non-compliance with a court order. Rather than trying to fight back against enforcement efforts, the smarter approach may be to ask for a modification. 

The state can adjust how much you pay

While losing your job won’t end your child support obligations, it may give you grounds to ask for a modification. The Kentucky family courts will potentially adjust the amount of support you must provide based on the unexpected reduction in your income. While you may still go into arrears or struggle to make those payments, there will be less of a burden than there would be if your current support orders stand.

Knowing your rights as the parent paying child support and your risks if you fall behind can help you take the right steps to protect yourself when your circumstances change.