For some single parents, it can be extremely difficult to collect court-ordered child support payments. Noncustodial parents may have a variety of excuses as to why they can’t pay, but it is usually a claim that they don’t have enough money to make the payments. When noncustodial parents are in child support arrears, courts have a variety of options available to get parents to pay, including finding the noncustodial parent in contempt of court and sending him or her to jail.

Terrell Owens, a one-time wide receiver with the Cincinnati Bengals and current Fulton County resident, was almost held in contempt of court after he fell behind in his daughter’s child support payments. Owens’ daughter’s mother recently filed her second motion with the Fulton County Superior Court, claiming the NFL star had failed to pay child support payments again. The mother’s petition was not just asking for a fine or a slap on the wrist, however, she requested the football player be sent to jail for missing two consecutive payments.

By the time Owens’ settled his debt, he had accrued $10,000 in missed payments. The wide receiver’s monthly child support payments total $5,000 and this would be the second time this summer that Owens failed to fulfill his obligations. He previously said that he wasn’t able to afford his payments because the NFL lockout put him in a financial hardship. He had requested for a reduction in his payments to $2,500 per month, but the court rejected the modification.

In addition to missing his June and July payments, the second contempt petition alleged Owens missed his August and September payments as well. Luckily for both Owens and his daughter, all missed payments have been covered and Owens no longer has the threat of jail hanging over his head.

The former athlete earns approximately $666,000 a month.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “T.O. catches up on child support payments, avoids jail,” Christian Boone, Sept. 26, 2011