Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC

Man has child support case cleared, but still has criminal record

In Texas, parents who are ordered to pay child support are required to pay in full and on time with the threat of penalties if they fail to do so. Even with that, it is not unusual for there to be glitches in the long and short terms that can lead a supporting parent to fall behind in the payments. It is not necessarily a shirking of their responsibility and tacit decision not to make the payments in every case. These situations are common with family law and legal help is necessary to see them through.

One case that led to a man being incarcerated due to failure to pay child support has been settled in accordance with the law, but he still has a criminal record. The man was jailed in 1993 on drug offenses. While in prison, his wife was receiving his disability payments. That came to more than $68,000. In 1995, she divorced him. That was a year before he was freed. As part of the agreement, the man was supposed to pay $250 each month for child support. However, she had cashed his disability checks and retained the money -- money that he believed would pay the child support.

He was arrested and tried in 2000 for failure to pay child support and sentenced to the maximum amount of time possible, two years. When he was released, he was paying child support in two different counties. Because of that, he was paying more than he was supposed to. One county relinquished the payments, but he still has a criminal record after the conviction for delinquent child support. According to law enforcement officials, there is no connection between the criminal charges and mistakes in the payments. The civil debt was forgiven, but that has no bearing on the criminal charges for not paying. In the time since this case, the rules regarding payments in Texas have changed so this type of issue will not arise again, but the man still has a criminal record unless he is pardoned or given clemency.

This case highlights several problems that can come about with child support and ancillary factors that affect it. Those who are in the middle of a dispute over child support or need assistance with other family law issues should make certain they are protected with help from an attorney to avoid the fate that befell and continues to influence this man's life.

Source: newschannel10.com, "Amarillo man fighting criminalrecord after convoluted child support case," Francis Sirois, May 11, 2017

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