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A Michigan father gets prison time in child support case that is making headlines. SFGate.com offers a clever equation to explain the story: one man + 14 women = 23 children and prison. Yes, the father to 23 children is behind in his child support payments by over $500,000 and will now serve two to four years in prison for it -- a prison term over twice the state guidelines for this type of case.
44 year-old Howard Veal was one busy man, fathering at least one child every year from 1989 to 1999. MLive quotes the presiding judge in his child support case, "You are the poster boy for irresponsibility. You're an insult to every responsible father who sacrifices to provide for their children. Animals procreate, humans are supposed to nurture their children. Jail time is appropriate as he will likely hardly make a dent in what he owes." One woman, mother to two of Veal's children noted that she has received one payment of $87.75. Her children are not teenagers.
The strong-worded reprise was not without merit. Many of the mothers of Veal's children were in the court when the sentence was announced. When questioned about his children, Veal was unable to name how many kids he fathered, or their names. He currently lives with the mother of four of his children, a relationship he has been in throughout the entire duration of his fathering escapades.
Failure to pay child support is a felony. The payment is determined by the financial needs of the child and the parent in custody as well as the income of the parent paying child support. Howard Veal presents a unique case to the typical child support situation both in the scope of his fathering, the payments due, and his punishment. The traditional punishment for failure to pay child support come in the form of wage deduction orders, fines, and license revocation -- measures aimed at getting money to the children rather than punishing the offender. The sad reality of Howard Veal, and other cases involving unpaid child support, is that the real victims are the children that are not given the financial help they deserve.