You have seen the recent news about a local man being arrested and jailed for his refusal to pay Court Ordered Child Support. Now, this is only done after one is initially ordered to pay, doesn’t pay, then is formally requested to pay, given notice, given an opportunity to pay or prove their inability to pay with specificity, and then and only then, jailed as a last resort. In these circumstances, knowing the layers of review, the opportunities afforded by the Court and the fact that everyone had a lawyer (actually multiple lawyers), my sympathy is nil. This is Contempt of Court and ultimately the wrong-doer has the keys to the jail. All you have to do is pay what you owe and you are free to go.
However, if you still don’t pay, your troubles can multiply.
TITLE 97. CRIMES
CHAPTER 5. OFFENSES AFFECTING CHILDREN
Miss. Code Ann. § 97-5-3 (2016)
§ 97-5-3. Desertion or nonsupport of child under age eighteen
Any parent who shall desert or wilfully neglect or refuse to provide for the support and maintenance of his or her…children…while said…children are under the age of eighteen (18) years shall be guilty of a felony and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished for a first offense by a fine of not less than One Hundred Dollars ($ 100.00) nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($ 500.00), or by commitment to the custody of the Department of Corrections not more than five (5) years, or both; and for a second or subsequent offense, by a fine of not less than One Thousand Dollars ($ 1,000.00) nor more than Ten Thousand Dollars ($ 10,000.00), or by commitment to the custody of the Department of Corrections not less than two (2) years nor more than five (5) years, or both, in the discretion of the court.
Prison for not paying child support? Yes. It’s the law.
Matthew Thompson is a Child Custody and Child Support Attorney in Mississippi.
Cash is King, but only when you can prove you paid it!
When a party alleges that the other has not paid their support obligations the Court looks to the payor to prove what was paid, not the payee to prove what was not. In simple terms, if you owed $500 per month in child support and I sued you for contempt and said you had not paid, that’s all I have to do, and the burden shifts to you to prove you did pay what was Ordered and owed. If you cannot prove it, you may be out of luck.
“But I paid cash…,”are famous last words. She is not going to admit that you paid cash or if you did it was because you owed her money, not that it was the child support payment.
Get a receipt. Everytime. Hand write it on notebook paper if you have to. Keep good records. How much was paid and on what date it was paid. Your wallet and your freedom, at least temporarily, may depend on it.
Matthew Thompson is a Family Law attorney in Mississippi and advises you to get a receipt.
Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer Visit the website: Thompson Law Firm You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at
(601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms
“I have Joint Custody.”
I hear this often,”…but I have Joint Custody!” However, the Court Order determines what you have.
There are 2 types of Custody in Mississippi Law. Legal Custody and Physical Custody.
Legal Custody is the decision-making right regarding the child related to their health, education and general welfare. It requires the parents to keep the other reasonably informed of the child’s goings-on. It is commonly Joint Legal Custody, but this has no bearing on the schedule.
Physical Custody is where the child resides on a primary basis. Within Physical Custody there are typically 2 types. 1) One parent has Physical Custody subject to the other parent’s rights of visitation, or 2) Joint Physical Custody. Joint Physical Custody does not require it be a 50/50 time split, however it is defined as each parent spending a substantial amount of time with the child.
Joint Legal allows access to information and creates an obligation for consultation regarding issues concerning the child. Joint Physical is “Joint Custody.”
Matthew Thompson is a Mississippi Child Custody attorney.
Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer Visit the website: Thompson Law Firm You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms