Lakeland, FL asked in Child Support and Family Law for Florida

Q: I need help with Civil contempt of court for back child support. Can I fight this?

In 05 I was ordered to pay almost $1k a month in child support. I changed jobs and filed a modification. the children’s mother heard about this and moved and never gave the state her new address. her D.L address doesn’t match her residence. all modification were denied as the state can’t serve her causing me to fall behind in CS. In 17, I lost my vision in my right eye and I am almost blind in left (all documented from Tampa General and a Dr that Social Security sent me to when I applied for disability. I’m in the process of getting approved for disability and have a claim with the VA) my kids are grown and I owe the arrears. I had a court date and the judge said that I could go to jail. The case was continued for 6 wks. I wrote some books prior to my injury and I get book royalties. My wife works and I can pay something, but I can’t pay $1000 a month. I don’t know if I’m allowed a lawyer under the 6th amendment as I’m going to jail Or do I even have a leg to stand on to fight this.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Rand Scott Lieber
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  • Hollywood, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Although it is possible, generally payors do not go to jail for not paying child support. If you are ordered to pay a specific amount and you have that amount in your possession (bank account, etc.) then you can be ordered to pay by a certain time or be jailed. This is called you having the keys to your own jail sentence. Big picture, you need to return to court and explain (with evidence) what you can reasonably pay moving forward. It does not have to be the original $1,000 ordered. Speak with a local family lawyer for more specific advice.

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