Stop the Texas Attorney General from hurting more kids.
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I was sentenced to six months in jail after paying $40,000 of child support in 30 months.
In November 2015 the price of oil dropped to $29bbl, twelve percent (12%) of Texans lost their jobs or lost income. Mine went from $9000 a month to $2000 a month, almost overnight. My child support was set at $1200 a month .
I filed a request to have my payment lowered in January 2016. I submitted three different applications each time being denied, citing that I did not provide enough information. Even though I followed the instructions precisely.
In May 2016 the attorney general filed a lawsuit on me seeking jail time. Meanwhile, I'm supporting my child with health insurance. I'm paying the cost of pre school, I'm providing cash when I can. I'm doing everything I can do.
At court, I tell one of the 14 attorney's assigned to my case, the circumstance, he says "it does sound like you need a reduction, but we are not here to talk about that today". My payment increased that day from $1200-$1300 and they set a review in three months, at which time I would got to jail if I didn't pay $1300 a month.
So I make a series of phone calls to the AG and finally I find somebody who thinks my situation is outrageous and can help. The AG then files a lawsuit on my behalf to lower my payment, they set the date, on the same date of the review. I'm thinking I'm about to get justice.
When I show up at the hearing the Attorney General is not prepared to argue on my behalf but they are prepared to argue to throw me in jail, which they do, I was given six months or until I come up with $4,592.
This is a problem for kids. Kids don't deserve their parent taken away... for any reason. I had paid over $40,000 in 30 months. I still went to jail.
I was on a day-to-day agreement with my landlord. I lost my house, the only stable/ consistent home the kid had. Kids at school teased him, that's how he found out that I was in jail, at school. Having your parent thrown in jail is traumatic for a 5 year old.
It took me eight days to find someone to give me the $5k. I was able to convince a client to lend me the money to get out. If I was not a person with affluent friends, my life would've been destroyed. I would've had no job, my car would been repossessed, no house, no clothes. I would've walked out of jail on to the streets, and I know this is happening to others who aren't as fortunate as I am.
Essentially, the children aren't benefiting from a parent being in jail. Not only are they not benefiting, they are hurting, and we are putting their lives at risk. It's pretty hard to be a father or disciplinarian from jail.
The solution seems obvious to me, the state should obtain labor contracts. if a non-custodial parent is not paying, they should be required to work a half day for the state. The other half a day they can look for a job, and if they don't comply with that .....then perhaps jail, but not even then really.
We are not supposed to be imprisoning the citizens of the United States of America for debts owed, the state circumvents that by incarcerating people for being in contempt of court.
It has now been 20 months since I filed to have my payment reduced, I still haven't had my hearing w the AG even though they filed on my behalf, quite the contrary, I am now on my way to the courthouse, because the AG is trying to incarcerate me again, for not paying $1300 a month. The attorney general does not want to help anybody, the AG wants to put people in jail.
When people fall on hard times like 12% of Texas did in November 2015. When the price of oil falls to $29 a barrel. The state of Texas should not hire 14 lawyers to sue one person they should have a clerk being paid $12 an hour to process applications and supporting documentation. Instead of hiring clerks at $12 an hour the attorney general hires more attorneys at $400 an hour. Typical Attorney.
I'm writing this for kids and for fathers and mothers who don't have the means to get themselves out of jail. They are having a hard time already. For those who can barely pay the bills and for kids who don't deserve having their parent taken away for any reason.
Thank you for signing the petition, it's for the kids. Kids need their parents even if they are deadbeats, they need love.
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