Keeping up with child support obligations isn't always easy. If you lose your job, or your situation changes, you may find yourself unable to pay the amount you owe. For one father in Texas, however, it was not his inability to pay, but a simple clerical error that got him into trouble. Now he faces jail for the child support that went unpaid.
The 43-year-old father from Houston had his child support payments garnished from his wages. However, the employee in charge of arranging that made an error that resulted in his payments becoming delinquent for several months. Although the father claims he was unaware of the situation until his 12-year-old son's mother sued him, he still is being forced to face the consequences. When he found out, he repaid $3,000 in order to clear the deficit.
Previously, legislation allowed parents to avoid punishment by paying off the amount due before their court date. Unfortunately for this father that law was repealed last year. Despite a court transcript stating the contrary, the judge claimed the accused did not mention the clerical error during his trial. He could now face up to six months in jail. Having a previous incidence of late child support payments also counted him, despite the fact that he was unemployed at the time.
Other parents in Texas can surely sympathize with this man's plight. Jail time would not only mean he would miss valuable time with his son, but also prevents him from paying child support during that period. Disputes over support payments are rarely easy to settle, but it is important to deal with any issues as quickly as possible to avoid legal repercussions.
If you have concerns about your payment obligations, an attorney may be able to give you the assistance you need. There are several means of tackling child support issues, from payment plans to a modification of the amount owed. An attorney can help you to figure out the best option for you.
Source: Houston Chronicle, "Clerical error leads father to jail for failing to pay child support," Samantha Ehlinger, June 24, 2014