Former NFL star avoids prison over back child support payments

Whether the recipient or payor, many Massachusetts parents can appreciate the importance of Child support payments. Child support provides a financial means of support for children, giving them the ability to thrive. When Child support payments fall behind, children and their primary caretakers may be left with little financial support. It is for this reason that the most egregious of cases involving failure to pay back Child support may result in Contempt actions and jail time for the non-paying parent.

Former National Football League star Andre Rison narrowly missed serving jail time recently for his continued failure to pay his Child support obligations. Rison has continually violated his probation for failing to pay $332,000 in Child support under a 2002 court agreement. He was almost sentenced to more than a year in prison, but was given a one-year extension of his probation term. Over the past several weeks, Rison has been making payments towards his Child support obligation to avoid jail time.

Whether prison may be in the future for this former NFL star is unknown. However, this case demonstrates the difficulties in matters involving large amounts of back Child support. In an extreme effort to force a parent to pay Child support, jail time may be enforced. On the other hand, if a parent is in jail, they have no means to make a living and thus pay their back obligations.

As with all disputes involving children and their support, it is foremost important to keep the best interests of the child in mind. Children depend on Child support for their livelihood. However, the payor must also be able to support him- or herself while supporting dependents. That is why in many cases, a modification of a Child support order with the help of a Central Massachusetts Family Law Attorney may be necessary. It is important to continue to work with the legal system whether you need to enforce a Child support order or seek a modification.

Source:, “Andre Rison dodges prison sentence after more failed child support payments,” Ross Maghielse, Aug. 16, 2013