Can Connecticut impose jail time for unpaid child support?

by | May 16, 2017 | Child Support, Firm News |

The shortest answer to this question is yes. However, the issue must be explained in further detail in order to provide an accurate picture of how the state of Connecticut deals with parents who fail to pay or cannot pay child support.

The current nationwide system managing child support enforcement uses many tools to collect current and back payments. Two common examples of these tools include intercepting tax returns and garnishing wages. While sentencing the noncustodial parent to a jail sentence in cases of nonpayment is an option, it is not widely enforced.

The most common legal path that could land a parent in jail for nonpayment is a civil action brought by the state. In this case, the parent is presented with three options as described below.

— Pay the owed child support, which is self-explanatory.

— Spend up to 180 days in jail, which will punish the nonpaying parent but do little to collect the owed support.

— Participate in a diversion or employment program if it is found that the parent simply cannot pay.

The latter option is sometimes controversial as it is often viewed as a free pass for offenders. However, these programs can provide noncustodial parents with the means to improve his or her ability to pay child support in the long-term.

In some cases, failure to pay child support could be a criminal offense, which will result in a felony or misdemeanor charge and a possible prison sentence. In Connecticut, this criminal charge is a “crime against public policy” and carries a maximum prison term of one year.

Whether you are a parent attempting to collect child support or a parent who cannot pay support, you will benefit from discussing your issues with an experienced family law attorney.

Source: National Conference of State Legislature, “Child Support and Incarceration,” accessed May 16, 2017


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