A Houston father is looking at potential jail time as the result of a clerical mistake related to back child support. Attorneys for the 43-year-old man say that it was an error committed by the man's employer which caused his child's mother to not receive the payments. In fact, his attorneys say that when the man discovered the error he paid the full amount and an additional $1,000.
In Texas, a new law now grants family court judges the ability to jail people delinquent in their child support payments at their discretion. This includes people who have paid the amount in full prior to their hearings. Although the man presented evidence of the clerical mix-up during his appeals process, he failed to do so at a later hearing. The court found him in contempt for late payments and he was sentenced to six months in jail.
The man, who is a father of a 12-year-old son, says that he plans to turn himself in to begin his sentence, but that he doesn't want his boy to see him in jail. His attorneys appealed the new law in an attempt to spare the man from jail but his appeal was denied.
Child support is a necessary component to providing children with a safe and stable environment. Sometimes people paying child support have issues arise in their lives which may affect their ability to pay. The loss of a job, a debilitating injury or illness or other financial emergencies are all examples of conditions which might merit a modification to the current child support payment amount. A specialist in family law issues can provide a person facing such circumstances some assistance in that process.
Source: ABC 13 Eyewitness News, "Clerical error for child support payments sending dad to jail" Tom Abrahams, Jun. 23, 2014