A Tennessee dad spent two days in jail in 2002 for failing to make all his child and spousal support payments.
The man claimed his financial circumstances had changed for the worse and that even though his obligations had been reduced, he still just couldn’t meet them.
Tennessee’s high court finally ruled that it was error to jail him, because the former wife hadn’t proved that he had the ability to pay and was willfully refusing to do so.
Armed with that ruling, the man is suing the state of Tennessee in federal court.
Although the former wife may have been entitled to an order of arrears for non-payment, a judgment of contempt warranting jail time requires more than non-payment; it requires willfulness.