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Father tries to pay child support, still given max jail sentence

Court-ordered child support payments can sometimes lead to difficult issues for separated or divorced Colorado parents, and sometimes state legislatures will attempt to create a better legal framework for such situations by passing new laws. However, these child support laws can sometimes lead to negative results that are likely counter to their intended purposes.

The state of Texas passed new legislation relating to child support that went into effect in mid-2013. Under this law, a parent who has a lapse in support payments can be sent to jail for a maximum of six months, regardless of whether the payments are later paid in full.

This maximum penalty was given to a father who believed his support payments were being regularly deducted from his paychecks. When a clerical error resulted in underpayment, the man made every effort to rectify the situation, including making an overpayment of $1000. Despite these efforts, this father must serve his jail sentence, and is not able to appeal the decision.

It is unclear whether the man’s sentence will affect his employment, or whether the cause of the clerical error has been identified.

When parents divorce or separate, it is often the children who suffer the most. While some states attempt to pass laws that will help to ease this burden, the unintended consequences of such legislation may in fact result in harmful judicial rulings. For this reason, parents may wish to proactively speak with an attorney regarding child support guidelines to ensure that they are not penalized for delinquent payments

Source: The Huffington Post, “Clerical Error In Child Support Payments Leads To Six-Month Jail Sentence For Clifford Hall,” Jan. 22, 2014

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