Almost all readers of this blog are probably aware of the Texas father who was sentenced to time in jail because of a clerical error regarding his child support payments. The last we reported, the man was appealing the decision to send him to jail. He has gone through all the available appeals and is now turning himself in to serve the six month jail sentence handed down from Judge Lisa Millard.
A new Texas law is at the heart of this case. The new law lets judges sentence people who are delinquent in child support even if they are caught up at the time of the hearing. The 43-year-old man had paid his arrears plus an additional $1,000 when the issue with his payments was discovered.
The man's employer acknowledged that there was a clerical error that wasn't allowing the child support payments to be sent to the man's child's mother. While evidence of that error did exist, it wasn't offered at the time the man was found to be in contempt of court. It was offered at the appeals hearings.
The man is now seeking custody of his son, but he asserts that he doesn't want the 12-year-old to see him in jail. This is a sad case of how child custody laws might turn out to be more of a hazard than expected. This man won't be able to support or parent his son while he is in jail, which seems like a bit of an ironic situation considering the basis of this case.
Individuals who are having issues with child custody should make sure that they understand the laws pertaining to their case. Knowing your responsibilities and rights as you go through the court process might help make the journey easier.
Source: ABC 13, "Clerical error for child support payments sending dad to jail", June 23, 2014