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Clerical error turns father into child support delinquent

In the United States, courts order a non-custodial parent to pay child support in order to ensure that a child's best interests are protected at all times. The money that a custodial parent receives in the form of child support is utilized to meet the child's financial requirements. Therefore, when child support payments are not received on time, many custodial parents and children face substantial financial difficulties. To avoid such issues, child support payments are deducted from a non-custodial parent's paycheck.

A recent incident that garnered immense national media attention was that of a non-custodial father. According to reports, the 43-year-old father allegedly failed to pay the full amount in child support for his 12-year-old son for several months.

However, the father and his lawyer repeatedly pointed out that a clerical error by the father's employer led to the confusion and, as a result, the man had to spend one week in custody. When his appeals were denied, the father surrendered and agreed to a six-month jail sentence for child support delinquency.

Thankfully, an employee of AT&T who manages workers' compensation benefits and was responsible for garnishing the father's paychecks for child support, said in an affidavit that the man's child support obligations were incorrectly withheld. Considering this affidavit as conclusive evidence, a family court in Houston thankfully ordered the father's release.

In Tennessee, or any other state, child support delinquency is considered a serious offense and can often lead to dire consequences for those that don't pay. However, there are times when the non-custodial parent needs to seek a modification in child support orders to adjust to life's changing circumstances. In such situations, it is always a safer and wiser option to seek child support modification from the court instead of being identified as a delinquent.

Source: Chron.com, "Lawyer: Dad jailed in child support controversy will be freed," Samantha Ehlinger, July 2, 2014

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