Texas dad goes to jail for falling behind in child support

On behalf of The Rachel Firm posted in Child Support on Tuesday, July 1, 2014.

Falling behind in child support payments can result in serious consequences in Texas. Just ask one Houston dad, who began serving a six-month jail sentence last week for failing to keep up with his payments.

The unfortunate part about this case is that the delinquency may not have been entirely the dad’s fault. His attorney alleges that after the dad fell behind by $3,000, the court garnished his wages. But authorities took the money directly from the man’s employer, not from his paycheck. According to the attorney, the employer failed to turn the money over to the court so it could be paid to the child’s mother.

The dad has now paid all that he owed plus an additional $1,000. But due to a recent change in the law, it was too late too get out of the jail sentence. The man appealed his case, but was unsuccessful.

Texas authorities take child support enforcement very seriously. A failure to make court-ordered payments on time is considered a contempt of court. In addition to wage garnishment and jail time, a parent can face suspension of their driver’s license and any professional licenses.

It can be difficult for a financially struggling parent to keep up with court-ordered child support payments. Parents who have experienced a change in financial circumstances can petition the court for a modification of child support. But a parent in that situation must act quickly before the state begins procedures. And as this case shows, once garnishment begins it is critical to stay informed about where the money is going.

Source: click2houston.com, “Dad begins jail sentence in complicated child support case,” Mary Benton, June 24, 2014