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Can I go to jail for not paying child support?

Child support arrangements are legally binding in the state of Texas, and are therefore enforceable under the law. As a result, parents who fail to comply with the terms of an established child support agreement can be subject to a number of enforcement procedures and/or legal penalties. If your child's other parent has failed to pay child support for whatever reason, he or she could be forced to pay monetary penalties and/or serve a jail sentence.

According to the Texas Attorney General, your child's other parent may be considered to be in contempt of court if he or she fails to pay child support. The offense of being in contempt of court is punishable under the law, and can result in a legal fine of $500, in addition to a jail sentence of up to six months. A felony conviction of nonpayment can result in a monetary fine and prison sentence, as well as deportation in some cases. It's also important to keep in mind that you are, as the custodial parent, still entitled to child support payments if and while the child's other parent goes to jail for contempt of court. 

In the event that your child's other parent is unable to pay child support for whatever reason, he or she is advised to notify the court immediately. If given proper notice, the court may be able to reduce or suspend payments temporarily. However, he or she will typically be expected to pay the full amount if and when he or she is able. Similarly, any modifications that are made to your child support agreement as a result of your child's other parent going to jail will typically end once he or she is released.

You must keep in mind, however, that other factors can be taken into consideration by the court when enforcing child support judgments. Therefore, this information cannot be considered legal advice.

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