In my wanderings, I see parents who are sent to jail for not paying child support. They are given a sentence, but with a catch. They are given the “keys to their own cell.” The court makes a determination as to their immediate ability to pay. This “ability to pay” is the “key”. An example might be a term of 30 days in jail OR a payment of $100. The idea is that this is money readily available to them, so they only sit in jail as long as they refuse to pay. Not only did one such individual not pay, and do the full jail term, he followed it up with a courtesy call to the local Child Support Enforcement office, “I just sat in jail for 30 days instead of paying.” You may be asking yourself, what could he have been ordered to pay to get himself out? It turns out he was only ordered to pay the $20 he came to court with. He kept that folded twenty dollar bill in his pocket for 30 days rather than pay it towards his child support. This is why I have a job. This is why many government agencies exist; and however unfortunate, may continue to exist for some time.

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to court we go!