Child Support Contempt Hearings in Rhode Island

If the custodial parent is not receiving regular or timely child support payments, they may petition the court to hold the other partner in contempt for failure to pay. Contempt hearings could have any one of several outcomes:

  • The person accused of contempt may not appear for the hearing, prompting the court to issue a judgment against them.
  • The parents may be offered the opportunity to reach a settlement, which could include a negotiated payment plan, a promise to remain current, or a reduced lump sum for past-due payments.
  • The non-custodial parent could be found in contempt.

Rhode Island courts recognize two forms of contempt in child support enforcement motions:

Technical Contempt

A non-custodial parent may be found in technical contempt if they have not complied with the child support order, but the court has reason to believe the parent had a legitimate reason to miss payments. This could include the loss of a job, a sudden decrease in income, or serious medical problems.

However, a technical contempt ruling is not a free pass. The court will still, in all likelihood, order the parent to make arrangements to resume making child support payments at the earliest possible opportunity.

Willful Contempt

The court may find a non-custodial parent in willful contempt if the judge believes the parent had no compelling reason to miss their payments. A finding of willful contempt could result in further penalties, including fines and other financial sanctions.

Under certain circumstances, the court could also order the delinquent parent to jail. The parent may be released after a predetermined period of time or upon making a predetermined payment.

Raising a child should be rewarding. However, a deadbeat parent’s refusal to make regular support payments could jeopardize the child’s health, well-being, and long-term opportunities.

Do You Need to Speak to a Rhode Island Child Support Attorney?

If you are having a difficult time trying to get child support payments you are due you need to speak with an experienced Rhode Island family law attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Warwick office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help divorce clients in Providence, Warwick, and all areas of Rhode Island.

Christopher L. Russo
Helping Rhode Island personal injury victims for nearly three decades to get the compensation they deserve.