Will I go to jail if I turn myself in for a failure to appear (contempt) of a child support hearing?

Asked almost 4 years ago - Pittsburgh, PA

It's been over a year since I failed to appear. This will be the second time. The first time wasn't my fault because the mail never got sent to the right address. It's been over a year since I missed court and I've just been scared about it. I know the longer I wait the worse it might get. I believe I have mental issues that have stopped me trying to resolve this issue. I just recently have gotten myself a therapist and will be seeing a doctor soon. I would just like to get this resolved and stop knowing that some day they will catch up with me. I live in Pa the custodial parent lives in Va. I probably owe at least $11k in child support. She filed back in 2006 but I never received any notice until early 2009. My first hearing I was told I owed $9k in arrears.

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Karen Ann Ulmer

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . You can go to jail but it is not so much for failing to appear in court as it is from failing to pay your support order. If you show up and you make payment and a plan to pay off the balance that is reasonable, you will likely not go to jail. Continuing to ignore the problem, as you guessed, only makes it worse. You need to face your fears and make a plan to take care of this and stick to it. Get money together, turn yourself in and have a concrete plan on how you will pay it off and maintain the current order.

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