California Divorce Laws | Alimony

California

Although no one can be imprisoned for debt, a parent or spouse can be imprisoned for refusing to pay or falling behind on the child or spousal support. Technically, the withholding parent or spouse would be imprisoned for contempt of court. Since the child or spousal support is a court-ordered payment process, anyone who does not pay the child or spousal support is defying the court and holding up the justice system. The result of holding up the justice system is being held in contempt of court, which can lead to imprisonment. Hence, a parent or spouse who owes child or spousal support and refuses to pay the debt can be prosecuted and may be jailed for being in contempt of court.

But due to the extreme measures this child or spousal support collection method takes, imprisonment is used as a last resort. Usually, courts will set up an automatic payment system by allocating a percentage of the paying parent or spouses’ income to be seized and sent directly to the custody-holding parent.

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