When parents in California and across the nation are court ordered to pay child support and they get behind on their payments, they are often vulnerable to serving jail time. Society sometimes lacks sympathy for wealthy celebrities in this situation, but many working-class people are in the same predicament, and low-income men are more likely to be sent to jail. The New York Times reported that a jail time threat is frequently viewed as the reason some parents with a substantial income manage to become current on their child support payments.
The handling of child support issues varies across the United States. Court systems in some regions of the country require parents to not only catch up on child support payments but also to repay any state welfare assistance the custodial parent may have received.
Opponents of these strategies to incarcerate parents who are severely delinquent in their child support are working to change things for parents who simply do not have the means to afford the costly payments. A group named the Southern Center for Human Rights recently filed a lawsuit in Georgia on behalf of those jailed individuals who cannot hire an attorney to represent them. The suit was prompted in part by the fact that impoverished parents may repeatedly serve jail time because they cannot pay their child support. According to statistics outlined in the New York Times, 3,500 parents who were delinquent in their court ordered child support were incarcerated in Georgia during 2010.
If a California parent is in a hefty delinquent payment situation, he or she might seek the advice of a divorce lawyer. An attorney might be able to help with modifying child support orders especially if an individual's financial situation has changed since the order was first put into effect.