A Texas father who was sentenced to six months in jail for nonpayment of child support began his jail sentence after his appeal was rejected. The man owed more than $3,000 in back child support when he realized the money that was being garnished by his employer was not forwarded to the court so it could be sent to the mother of his young son.
Though he was able to pay all of the overdue child support and an additional $1,000 before his sentence began, the man was still taken into custody due to a change in the law regarding his case. His attorney filed an appeal with the 14th District Court of Appeals but was unable to get the sentence overturned. At the time he surrendered to law enforcement, his attorney stated she held out hope that the judge would suspend the sentence so he could continue to work and spend time with his child.
The defendant and his attorney stated they hope other noncustodial parents should see this case as a warning and pay close attention to their child support accounts. The attorney suggested that is up to the paying parent to ensure the money held from their paycheck is actually sent to the courts so it can be distributed to the other parent.
As this case shows, the new law provides strict penalties for individuals who do not pay child support on time. However, a lawyer who is familiar with family law and the local child support mechanisms may be able to help a client make sure that the payments are reaching his or her child.
Source: KPRC, “Dad begins jail sentence in complicated child support case“, Mary Benton, June 24, 2014