A father, who was imprisoned in a southwest state after technically overpaying his child support, has been released. The man’s lawyer announced that he secured his release on July 2 during a standard jail review hearing. Allegedly, the man was imprisoned because he was behind on his child support payments — due to no fault of his own — because his employer made a clerical error. While this situation is indeed rare, it is not uncommon for parents in Maryland or elsewhere to find themselves in trouble with the law for failing to pay their child support on time.
When the man in this case discovered the error, he immediately paid the child support debt he owed and then some. In fact, he paid an extra thousand dollars while catching up on the overdue amount. However, this was not enough for the state court judge who ruled him to be in contempt of court anyway. He was subsequently sentenced to jail.
The man’s lawyer says that the issue lies with a new law that was enacted in June of last year. The law invalidated protections that used to help Texas parents who fell behind on their child support payments. The new and harsher legislation means that deadbeat parents, in addition to parents who are legitimately experiencing temporary financial problems, are treated the same. Fortunately, the father was ultimately released when he was able to show that he was paid in full on child support during his jail review hearing.
Numerous Maryland parents find themselves in trouble with the law if they get behind on child support payments. However, it is important for parents to remember that uncontrollable financial circumstances do not mean that they are “deadbeats.” Also, parents experiencing financial problems may wish to file a legal petition to have their child support obligations reduced to reflect their new economic standing in order to avoid the potential for legal troubles later on down the line.
Source: Uptown Magazine, “Father Freed after Serving Time for Overpayment of Child Support” Dayne Starr, Jul. 29, 2014