Chad Ochocinco's a deadbeat dad ... this according to his baby mama who says Chad's in the red on child support.
Andrea Pearson says Chad failed to make a $5,250 payment in April ... this according to legal docs obtained by TMZ. Her petition for contempt offers the judge several options ... garnish Chad's wages, slap him with a fine, or throw him in the pokey.
As we previously reported ... Chad's had money trouble going as far back as 2013, when his expenses far outpaced his income.
We reached out to Chad who scoffed at the amount, telling TMZ, "5k? That's it? All she had to do was call like normal people do. You can always tell who is in it for the money."