Following a tense child support hearing in a California court on March 10, Dean McDermott, Tori Spelling’s husband, was held in contempt of court for failing to pay his previous wife thousands in child support that she was owed. The judge reportedly gave him until March 13 to work out a deal. If a deal is not made, he could be sent to jail.

As part of the deal, McDermott was supposed to pay his ex-wife half of the amount that he owed her. The ex-wife withdrew the complaint so that he would not be immediately sent to jail, though it was expected that she would refile the complaint as early as March 14 if he did not pay up.

McDermott reportedly stopped paying his ex-wife child support for his 18-year-old son after he claimed that he had fallen on hard times. He has faced eight counts of contempt since he stopped the payments in October. All of the charges had been dismissed until this one.

If a non-custodial parent has a sudden change in their financial circumstances, they are still required to pay the amount of child support that they were ordered to. However, a family law attorney may take evidence of the parent’s change in financial circumstances to the court. The attorney could file a child support modification request. If the judge agrees that the child support needs to change to prevent the non-custodial parent from going into poverty, a new child support order could be drawn up. If the non-custodial parent simply stops making payments, the custodial parent can ask the court to enforce the order, which could be through a wage garnishment.

Source: FOX News, “Dean McDermott may face jail time if he doesn’t pay child support“, March 10, 2017