Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    3

    Default Am I Really Going to Jail if I Really Can't Afford Child Support Payments

    My question involves child support in the State of: South Carolina

    This is long, messy and complicated. Please bear with me. I realize that in attempt to not make this a novel, I will probably have to just fast forward in some places.

    In January 2009, I went to a pre-trial hearing for divorce. I couldn't afford a lawyer on such short notice as I'd recently left my abusive ex husband with only a few hundred dollars in my pocket. He initiated the divorce. The pre-trial hearing which I was told was 'no big deal' lasted for over 3 hours in which I was grilled. My passport was taken by the State of Georgia (we lived there during our marriage) and I was deemed a flight risk because I took my then 2 year old Autistic daughter across state lines to South Carolina where I had family and friends. The judge awarded temporary custody to my daughter's paternal grandparents who just happened to be in the court room that day. A bailiff followed me to my car where my daughter was being entertained by the friend who drove me. I had a few minutes with my daughter and the bailiff took her from me and walked away.

    Those of you with children don't need for me to explain how traumatizing this was - both both me and my daughter. Long story short, we went through a series of court goings here in South Carolina where the case was sent to being that all parties live here now. I borrowed thousands of dollars so I could afford a lawyer, a guardian ad litem, psychological evaluation and the gas money to drive 2 hours away to pick up my daughter and bring her home every two weeks.

    Child support is set at $300/month. I realize this isn't a lot, and a lot of people are paying so very much more. But this $300 isn't based on my financial declaration at all - and is instead based on what the court says I should be able to make working a full time job at minimum wage. I recognize why it's this way and completely understand. However, I am not able to work a full time job outside of my home. In addition to being legally blind in one eye, I have also been to the doctor in attempt to be officially diagnosed with narcolepsy. I don't yet have that official diagnosis because the sleep study even with medical insurance, cost me $300 and according to my doctor I need a second one.

    I am not currently making even the amount stated on my 2 year old financial declaration and to top it off, my husband lost his job due to severe medical issues which prevented him from being able to work. He has back problems and suffers from gigantism. He is becoming painfully paralyzed over time and will eventually need his back broken so it can be drilled out and re-aligned. He's claimed disability and is no longer eligible since he's now fired from that job (long, stupid story). He doesn't qualify for unemployment (included in said long, stupid story) and is waiting in hopes of collecting SSI.

    I have not been able to pay child support because I'm so busy keeping us afloat financially. I mean, I have to live too. I have a house and bills to afford like everyone else. We do not live lavishly - we can't afford that. Seriously, I get excited about Charmin toilet paper. The only reason we even still have internet is because I need it in order to work at all.

    I am about $1,500 behind now on child support.

    On February 28th, I received summons for court to explain myself. Court is tomorrow, March 16th. I realize I'm cutting it close asking questions NOW, but that's sort of my point... why did I only receive summons a little over 2 weeks prior? Isn't there some sort of standard!? I couldn't even find an attorney to speak to - much less one I could hire pro bono in this time and I've called and/or emailed quite a few attorneys in my area. Lord knows I can't afford another lawyer.

    I've written up a statement... a very long one actually, to explain why I have been unable to pay in detail including dates and everything that's transpired. I really do have what I think is a good reason for not being able to pay child support.

    Am I seriously going to go to jail for this tomorrow? I have so many BIG plans... things that I know will really boost my income and help. I just need more time to make that happen. I've spent so much of this time sulking in depression and I feel like I'm finally on track to getting myself out of the mess I'm in after all this time.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
    Posts
    26,825

    Default Re: Am I Really Going to Jail if I Really Can't Afford Child Support Payments

    2 weeks isn't unusual.

    What have you done to downsize?

    Have you applied for disability?
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    15,992

    Default Re: Am I Really Going to Jail if I Really Can't Afford Child Support Payments

    Am I seriously going to go to jail for this tomorrow?
    Maybe, maybe not. There's no way we can even speculate.

    Did you contact Legal Aid in your area? A law school clinic? Community legal resources?

    At this point, you probably don't even have time to do that, seeing that it's after business hours, and your date with the Judge is probably Early-thirty AM.

    It seems to me that your options are exceedingly limited. You'd do well to either ask for a continuance so that you may seek legal assistance or explain yourself really bleeding well. With documentation.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I play a researcher on the internet!
    Caution: I bite. WARNING: Do not send questions or complaints by PM. I'm likely to post them publicly and embarrass you half to death.
    I'm training for the MS Society's Bike to the Bay - and blogging about it!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Am I Really Going to Jail if I Really Can't Afford Child Support Payments

    I personally have never filed for disability before. I had plans to in regards to my sleep issues, but I don't have an official, final diagnosis. I was going to the doctor for the issues prior to my husband losing his job and consequently, our health insurance.

    We are however, on food stamps. It's honestly how we have been able to afford to eat during this hard time.

    Down size? I don't think I could possible downsize any more than we have. We buy generic everything. We no longer have cell phones or enjoy luxuries of any kind for that matter - excluding the internet. His mother now lives with us, which helps a little... I think. After her share of electric and water use, who really knows how much it's actually helping.

    I contacted several family law attorneys in my area in hopes they would do some work for free. I've had a lawyer from my area before, but I know she won't do any free work.

    I plan to ask for a continuance tomorrow. I think it's fair that I get one. It makes no sense to me that the summons was issued 15 days before the hearing. That's not enough time for anyone. Otherwise, I've written out what I think is a well written statement, outlining the financial hardships we're under, costs of my husband's medications without health insurance, when his disability claim was denied, when he was fired, his claims for unemployment as well as for SSI. It's all documented as well.

    I'm also bringing with me my documentation showing I've been to the doctor and what for as well as documentation of my sleep study.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
    Posts
    26,825

    Default Re: Am I Really Going to Jail if I Really Can't Afford Child Support Payments

    I really don't want your hopes to be raised.

    You've left it until - quite literally - the last minute. You can try, of course - and you might get lucky and have a sympathetic judge. If this is the first time you've been to court for non-payment, there's at least a fair chance that you're going home tomorrow night. Jail is usually - but not ALWAYS - a last resort.

    You must also realize that even if you do get a continuance, the arrears aren't going to go away. You need to do something - ANYTHING - to try and come up with at least a token payment.
    An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise - Victor Hugo

    Do not microwave grapes

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Am I Really Going to Jail if I Really Can't Afford Child Support Payments

    This is the first time I've ever been summoned for non-payment. Prior to this, I was always on time with my payments. When my husband lost his disability, the financial burden was placed almost exclusively on me. Prior to that, most of the money I made went to child support and gas.

    I understand I left it to the last minute. I have mental issues I'm not even going to get into because I have no proof of them and I know without that proof, the judge won't care to hear those. Just know that I don't do it intentionally.

    I'm scared, and despite how it all sounds, I really do care about being able to pay the child support - both what I owe already as well as future payments. I'm just financially in a really bad place right now.

    This summons paper says I owe $367.50. I'm really not sure what that number is in reference to. It says this is due the day of the court hearing. Is this the amount that would need to be paid for me to not go to jail?

    I figure it's in my best interest to bring with me whatever money I do have. I'd have more to bring, but I have to of course pay for the gas it will take for a friend to pick me up and bring me there. That isn't going to be cheap. The only person I could find to take me, lives about 3 1/2 hours from the court house... I live 2 hours from it.

    1. Sponsored Links
       

Similar Threads

  1. Debt Collectors: What to Do If You Can't Afford Your Student Loan Payments
    By KeriAnna82 in forum Student Loans
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 06-24-2010, 05:41 AM
  2. Debt Collectors: Cannot Afford Loan Payments
    By halah in forum Student Loans
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 06-07-2010, 10:24 AM
  3. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 05-19-2010, 10:10 AM
  4. Not a Deadbeat, but Unable to Afford Child Support
    By dandee4 in forum Child Support
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 01-22-2010, 03:52 PM
  5. Emancipation: Emancipation Where Parent Cannot Afford To Support Child
    By independant_female in forum Juvenile Law
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-10-2008, 07:36 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
 
Forum Sponsor
Custody Lawyer
Get help for your custody case. Consult a divorce lawyer for free.




Untitled Document