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Man gets 6-month jail sentence due to clerical error

Man gets 6-month jail sentence due to clerical error

Illinois residents, who have child support obligations, might be interested in learning about a recent case in which a man was sent to jail for six months because of a clerical error in Texas. The man received a bill for nearly $3,000 in overdue child support because the automated child support withdrawals from his paycheck were not being taken out of his account. He paid the overdue amount expeditiously, plus an additional $1,000.

The man's lawyer explained that as soon as her client gave her his receipt confirming his payment, she would inform the opposing counsel, and the matter would be settled. However, the other attorney was not willing to settle the case and was asking for $3,500 in attorney's fees for which she was sure the judge would grant. The man's attorney was forced to move forward instead of reaching an agreement outside of court.

According to Texas law, if people fall behind in their child support payments, they could still be sentenced to jail even if they appear in court and pay their debts. The law, which was enacted on June 14, 2013, allowed the judge to sentence the man to the maximum jail term.

State laws vary as far as child support is concerned. Those who fall behind in their payments could receive fines as well as jail terms. Texas laws are very strict, and even though the man's attorney worked diligently to settle the matter, the law prevailed, and the man received the maximum sentence. He will probably lose everything including his home and his job because of the sentence handed down to him. Although some laws may appear to be unfair, those involved could benefit from understanding the consequences of breaking them.

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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