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Jail

In extreme circumstances, a parent may be sentenced to jail for nonpayment of child support. Before a nonpaying parent can be sent to jail, the court must first determine whether they have the present ability to pay. If the court finds that the nonpaying parent does not have the present ability to pay, the proceedings are transformed from civil to criminal in order to punish, rather than enforce payment from the parent. Criminal contempt proceedings are appropriate when nonpaying parent has continually and willfully neglected payment, or purposely acted to “divest themselves of assets and property.” Aburos v. Aburos, 2010 WL 1565457 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 3d Dist. 2010). 
 
In extreme circumstances, a parent may be sentenced to jail for nonpayment of child support.
 
Additionally, if the court finds that the parent does have the present ability to pay, the court may hold the parent in civil contempt and order jail time. A parent cannot be held in civil contempt unless the court finds that the parent has the present ability to pay at the time of incarceration. However, before the parent can be sentenced to jail or coercive fine, the court shall set conditions for purge of the contempt (lifting the sanctions) based on the parent’s present ability to pay. The court may then order incarceration or delay incarceration to allow the parent to comply with the purge. Fla. Fam. L.R.P. Rule 12.615.
 

What happens once the nonpaying parent is sent to jail?

 
After incarceration, the parent “must be brought before the court again in 48 hours for a determination of whether the parent continues to have the present ability to pay the purge.” Fla. Fam. L.R.P. Rule 12.615. 
 
Jail time for nonpayment of child support is very serious matter. Please contact an experienced Orlando or Tampa divorce lawyer to discuss this matter further. 

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