You have to show that you do not have the ability to pay. They actually have to show that you have the ability to pay from some resource and are refusing to pay for you to be held in contempt of court and jailed. We do not have debtors prisons anymore. Contact Metro Volunteer Lawyers for some assistance.
The information provided in this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are interested in his legal services, feel free to call Chris at (303) 409-7635 at his law office in the Denver Tech Center. All initial consultations are free of charge.
You should file a motion to reduce child support before the next payment comes due. And, even if you cannot pay the entire payment when it comes due, you should pay SOMETHING to show you are doing the best you can. If push comes to shove in the courtroom, judges will treat you better if you made some effort to support your children, as opposed to someone who did nothing.
I am sorry to read of your plight. Both of myu colleagues offer great guidance -- I want to add some thought to the mix. You should absolutely file a motion to modify child support immediately in the courthouse where your current orders were issued. The actual filing means that your obligations will potentially be impacted back to the date you file. What does that mean? Well, you file a motion in July of this year and your hearing is seven months from now. If modified to a lower amount, the modification is retroactive to July of this year since you filed your motion at that time. This could save you hundreds and hundreds of dollars. Next, you must continue to pay something to meet your obligations. Effort matters int he eyes of the court and if you are indeed going to face a contempt citation (which would be silly for someone to pursue in my humble opinion in light of your circumstances), your paymetns will help you in the court's eyes. If you are playing games financially, the court will always figure that out. Your ability to pay at the time the contmpt matter is initiated and at the time of a hearing matter most to the court.
Best of luck to you -- here's hoping a regular paycheck is in your very near future!
In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.
Child support Finances and child support Determining child support payments Child support arrears Child support modification Child support and changes in circumstances Child support enforcement Enforcing child support by contempt Penalties for not paying child support Lawsuits and disputes Contempt of court