On May 20, 2008 a man from central Florida will stand in front of a Judge and possibly be sentenced to five years in prison for failing to pay hundred of thousands of dollars in child support. Robert Abraham, age 65, pleaded guilty in mid-March to failing to pay $651,000 in child support for his three children. The charges marks the first time anyone in his county of residence has been charged with a felony for neglecting to make child support payments.

Often custodial parents face the same ordeal, although owing hundred of thousands of dollars is rare. In Iowa, the custodial parent can bring a contempt action in court for non-payment and each missed monthly payment may be the basis for individual counts of contempt. If the non-custodial parent has missed many months, the counts can add up (26 counts in a case I handled last year). The court can employ many remedies which are set out in the Iowa Code including forcing the non-custodial parent to post bond equal to months of future-owed payments, fines and jail time – up to 30 days for each finding of contempt.

Abraham further demonstrated his lack of intelligence when he declined to settle his $651,000 child support debt for $200,000.