Technically non-payment of child support can be criminal but that is rare. If you can't find a job you should modify your payments asap or they will continue to accrue.
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To best answer your question, start with the premise that court orders must be followed. If you intentionally ignore an order, the penalty can be up to five days in jail for each violation and a fine of up to $1,000. Because the penalty is so harsh, (e.g. possible deprivation of your liberty), family law contempts are considered quasi criminal in nature. Have have constitutional protections and the burden to prove the contempt is on the person trying to convict you. To be found guilty, the court has to find by preponderance of evidence that there was a valid order; that you had knowledge of the order; that you had the ability to comply; and that you wilfully disobeyed the order. Since the law in this area is evolving, for unpaid child support, it is now only necessary to prove that there was a valid order that you failed to comply with and the burden shifts to your side to prove you were unable to comply. Not having a job is not an adequate reason either. The order was made based on some level of income, or earning history you have. You can be convicted if the court finds you had an earning ability but simply did not accept available employment that you were qualified to work. You do not have the right to restrict your job search to areas you like either. You have to look for any work that is available doing anything you are able to do and if one employer does not like your past, keep searching both on line and in person and keep a record of the name and phone number of each job you try to get. Include the position, company name and address so someone can verify to determine whether you are honestly trying, in which case they won't convict you probably, or just pretending to do your best, in which case you might have a problem. Even if you are sentenced to serve time in custody, on a first conviction the court's do not impose jail time. Instead they order community service picking up trash or some other activity selected by the court and often will consider having you only do a portion of the sentence but placing you on probation as a means of encouraging your future compliance with the existing order. Since you have an order that is more than you can afford, you should immediately ask the court to lower the child support, even if it is temporary. The court cannot go back in time to lower the amount until you file paperwork and make the request.
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