A Texas man with a 12-year-old son, who owes child support every month, fell behind on payments and now must serve a 6-month jail sentence according to a June 24, 2014 article in the Huston Chronicle. The man fell behind on the payments while unemployed, but when he got a job, he began to pay the payments on time. Then, his employer began to make clerical errors. The manâ€™s payments were supposed to be directly garnished from his paycheck and sent to his ex-wife. The person in charge of managing workers compensation payments also was the person who was supposed to garnish the fatherâ€™s paycheck. Unfortunately, the payroll employee started making mistakes and garnished too little. The father did not know about this until he was served with papers months later that he was being sued by his ex-wife for the back payments. The father was, of course, surprised. He immediately paid $3,000 in an attempt to correct the mistake. However, the court decided that was not enough. A new law in Texas states that paying back owed child support payments all at once is not sufficient to fix the problem. Additionally, the law provides a provision for putting the deadbeat parent in jail if they have not paid, even if they had caught up.
Misunderstandings continued in court. The family court judge told the newspaper that the man did not tell the court that his employer had erred. On the other hand, transcripts show that he did explain his employerâ€™s error in his testimony. The judge sentenced the man to six months in jail. The man appealed the case, but lost. He has turned himself over to the court to serve his prison sentence, but the family court judge can change the sentence at any time if she chooses.
The lesson from this case is that one must pay child support payments on time and in full. Additionally, if someone else is administering their payment, then one must be sure the proper amount is regularly paid.
Jayson Lutzky is Bronx, NY lawyer handling divorce and family court cases. He has over 30 years of experience practicing law and has helped thousands of highly satisfied clients over the years. The attorney offers free in person consultations. Call 718-514-6619 to set up a no obligation, confidential appointment. Visit www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com for more legal resources.