State guidelines dictate how much a non-custodial parent pays in child support. In Virginia, courts make this determination based on income and visitation arrangements. The goal is to serve the best interest of the child. If parents make the decision not to pay, they may have their wages garnished, lose their driver's licenses or face other punitive action.

Recently, a former city representative in Texas has been accused of failing to pay nearly $80,000 in child support. According to court documents, the man skipped 30 months of payment. The documents claim that the man only made partial payments in other months.

The former official's case was brought to a judge's attention by the county's Domestic Relations Office. Upon submission of the evidence, the judge held the former official in contempt of court and had him arrested. The man was charged with failure to pay child support and was eventually released from jail. Neither he nor his attorney has commented on the charges.

A representative with the Domestic Relations Office explained that parents failing to take child support laws seriously present her office with a serious problem. She said that despite how many times a judge sends an offender to jail for the day, "people still do what they want to do."

She said that parents often choose not to pay in order to slight their former spouses, adding that such behavior is not wise. "If you don't pay your child support, you will go to jail," she said. She continued, "This is not something you can negotiate between parties. It is an order of the court."

The DRO official also explained that some parents try to obscure their assets from the court to avoid having their wages or accounts garnished. She said that courts have sophisticated ways of finding and seizing money and advises parents to fulfill their duties and pay any owed child support.

Source: KTSM, "Former City Rep. Jailed For Not Paying Child Support," Troy Campbell, Dec. 1, 2011