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How long can they keep you for contempt non payment of child support if you have no money?

Athens, GA |

Was ordered to go to court in January. Vehicle broke down, lost job, and no one would respond to phone calls explaining why he couldn't make it to court. Was arrested in June and judge just ordered to pay one month of child support before being able to be release. He has no money, no job, and family can't help. How long can they keep him in jail? Between January and June he had no vehicle but was putting in applications online from a neighbors computer or at the library. He did attempt to call to let the court know that his vehicle broke down and couldn't get there. He lived 2 1/2 hours away from the county where court was and couldn't find a way there. The car broke down 3 days prior to the court date. No time to write the court. Just couldn't find a job.

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Attorney answers 3


The judge will consider all the facts, but contempt is an open ended sentence and the judge decides how long you stay in jail.

The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Georgia. Responses are based solely on Georgia law unless stated otherwise.


Although contempt is an open ended sentence, the Court will most likely hold what is called a status hearing in a few months to determine if the Defendant should be placed on what is called work release. At that point the Defendant could be released in the morning to find or maintain a job and then he would report back to the jail at night until such time as he pruged himself of contempt by paying that one months worth of child support. A judge will not leave a Defendant in jail forever as our Georgia Supreme Court has held, we do not operate debtors prisons.

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Your question is how long? Until the judge decides to let him out. To minimize this time, it is important that you work with a local, comeptent, experienced attorney to discuss the case, and the best plan going forward. For starters, the reasons for non-appearance listed in this posting are going to be a difficult story to sell the court. In three days, the court is going to figure there was some way he could have contacted them.

Anyway, an attorney can help you with this.

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