NBC news has shown a spotlight on the problem - finally - and admitted the obvious. Even if you pay for years without missing a day, if you lose a job, and can't pay, you are likely going to jail.
It may not be a crime to be poor, but it can land you behind bars if you also are behind on your child-support payments.
Thousands of so-called “deadbeat” parents are jailed each year in the U.S. after failing to pay court-ordered child support — the vast majority of them for withholding or hiding money out of spite or a feeling that they’ve been unfairly gouged by the courts.
But in what might seem like an un-American plot twist from a Charles Dickens’ novel, advocates for the poor say, some parents are wrongly being locked away without any regard for their ability to pay — sometimes without the benefit of legal representation.
Randy Miller, a 39-year-old Iraqi war vet, found himself in that situation in November, when a judge in Floyd County, Ga., sent him to jail for violating a court order to pay child support.
He said he was stunned when the judge rebuffed his argument that he had made regular payments for more than a decade before losing his job in July 2009 and had recently resumed working.
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