Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.
‘Why are they holding my husband in jail if he was paying his child support and making payments on the back pay? Before my husband and I got together he was pretty reckless and didn’t pay his child support but since we have been together he has been paying his child support and paying on the arrears. He owes a rather large sum of money in back pay. Every time he gets a new job he makes sure to call the child support office to let them know so they can garnish his wages. They take $700 out of every check. It pays the full amount of child support for the month plus extra for the back pay. They put out a contempt warrant on him for the back pay of child support and now are holding him in jail saying he has to pay the full amount if he wants to be released. If he set up payment arrangements with the DA and child support people why did they arrest him for it and holding him in jail? We have two boys together and a baby girl about to be here. He lost his job because he has been in jail for over two weeks. I have no income coming in so I had to take the children and leave our home because I cannot pay the bills. What are his options? Do they have the right to keep him in there even though he has been paying monthly and had payment arrangements set up with them already? I just don’t understand. I need him to come home quick before we lose our home and he misses his daughter being born.’
Question: You mention that your husband has moved from job to job a few times. If his wages are garnished, but he is unemployed, he still owes the same amount of money as when he is working, unless he has requested the court to recalculate his support based on his changed circumstance and if then they actually reduced his support. In other words, if he has garnished wages, but has no wages for the state to garnish, he still owes that $700 and it is his responsibility to ask the court to reduce his child support in that situation. In order for him to be in contempt, he would have had to miss a payment and not attempted to make other arrangements. The best course of action would be for him to try to make a different deal or other arrangements to pay his child support, because his duty to that child does not go away when it is inconvenient. And be sure to have him
file with the court for a modification of the amount of child support.