Florida parents who pay child support may be interested in the case of a Texas man who was jailed for missing payments. This particular case has stirred controversy because the shortage of payment resulted from errors in the automated withdrawal system that was used to make payments from the father’s bank account.
The father was not made aware of the error until he received a bill for almost $3,000 in overdue child support. Reportedly, upon receipt of the bill, the father promptly paid the overdue balance. Sources also suggest that the man also included an additional $1,000.
The man’s attorney notified the other party’s attorney of the error, assuming that the matter would be resolved without further litigation. However, in Texas, delayed child support payments can result in jail time, even if the payer appears in court with the debts fully paid. Sentencing under that law includes a maximum six-month incarceration period. The opposing party refused to settle the matter and, instead, chose to seek reimbursement for $3,500 in attorney’s fees. The case moved to trial, and the man received the maximum six-month sentence. The father’s attorney was unable to appeal the judge’s decision, and the father’s sentence began on Jan. 21.
This case serves as an example of the importance of staying current on child support payments. Florida parents who may face difficulty meeting court-ordered payment schedules may face a number of consequences. However, in order to continue providing for the best interests of a child, a parent responsible for payments may be able to work with a family law attorney. That attorney may be able to help a client negotiate modifications to child support agreements, which may ease the financial burden on one party while still providing for the other.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Clerical Error In Child Support Payments Leads To Six-Month Jail Sentence For Clifford Hall “, January 22, 2014