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Parent sentenced because of clerical error on child support

North Carolina parents may have read about a Texas man caught in a child support glitch. Errors were made in withdrawal amounts from the his paychecks, leading to a shortage in his child support balance. The non-custodial father quickly remedied the situation by paying the $3,000 reflected in the bill that alerted him to the shortage. In addition, he paid $1,000 more to ensure that no balance remained. He provided his attorney with a receipt along with a letter informing him that he had overpaid. The attorney expected the legal issue to be resolved easily due to the repayment.

The opposing attorney in the case refused to settle, indicating that she wanted attorney's fees of $3,500 and that she was confident that the judge would agree. A Texas law related to overdue child support includes a maximum sentence of six months' jail time in cases in which an individual falls behind. This is possible even in instances in which support is up-to-date when the individual reports to court.

In this case, the father received the maximum sentence for the overdue support. Unable to appeal, his sentence began in January, and he is faced with not being able to see his son for an extended time. Each state's laws can vary, making it important for parents responsible for paying child support to be sure of the terms related to payment and penalties.

A parent faced with a similar situation due to procedural errors may want to consult with a family law attorney to determine how to proceed. Although the outcome for this parent was extreme, state authorities view child support delinquencies very seriously, and can impose a variety of sanctions, including the suspension of driver's and professional licenses.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Clerical Error In Child Support Payments Leads To Six-Month Jail Sentence For Clifford Hall ", January 21, 2014

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