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Father is free after being jailed for overpaying child support

A father who was sent to jail because he did not pay child support due to his employer's accounting error has recently been freed. Fortunately, the father was able to show that he had paid his child support in full -- plus an extra $1,000 -- during a jail review hearing, and he has secured his release. Interestingly, however, his release has gained less media attention than his imprisonment.

It is not uncommon for Illinois residents to fall behind on their child support due to no fault of their own. In this man's case, it was not due to economic circumstances, but rather, it was a clerical error at his work that led to him getting behind. Supposedly, the man's child support payments were meant to be automatically deducted from his paycheck, but they were not. When he discovered that he was behind, though, he immediately paid the overdue amount.

Unfortunately, the fact that the father paid what he owed was not enough for the Texas judge who decided he was in contempt of court for failing to meet his child support obligations. The judge decided to send the man to jail due to a law in that state that allows for such punishments. Nevertheless, the man was entitled to a jail review hearing shortly after being imprisoned. The judge who presided over that hearing did not see a legitimate reason for holding the man considering that had already paid back the amount he owed.

Although the above case did not occur in Illinois, it is an excellent example of how an otherwise law-abiding parent can find him or herself in trouble with the law. It is therefore important that parents in danger of getting behind on child support due to extraneous economic circumstances petition the court to lower their child support obligations immediately. Indeed, it is better to resolve these issues now than to face stiff legal consequences -- and in some cases jail time -- later on down the road.

Source: The Root, "Texas Man Who Overpaid Child Support Is Released From Prison" Breanna Edwards, Jul. 28, 2014

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