A few weeks back, news outlets and internet media publications all over the United States were abuzz over a story about a Tennessee man dealing with major child support problems due to the fact that he had 30 children with multiple women.
According to these reports, Desmond H. of Knoxville, Tennessee, is regularly in and out of family court over his failure to meet his child support obligations for his 30 kids ranging in age from three (the youngest) to fourteen (the oldest).
These reports further indicated that Desmond H., 33, holds a job that pays only minimum wage and that while he has to turn over 50 percent of his earnings for child support — the most allowed under Tennessee law — this still amounts to only $1.49 per month in garnishments for each of his 30 children.
Now, this story has managed to remerge in the popular press. The reason? As it turns out, it simply wasn’t true.
Earlier this month, Stan Briggs, the Knox County Juvenile Court child support magistrate, informed media sources that the news reports on Desmond H. were inaccurate concerning the number of children he fathered and other important details.
“What he is officially, legally responsible for is 24 children,” said Briggs. “The 30 figure is apparently something [Desmond H.] may have said in a TV interview a few years ago. … Twenty-four kids is the legally established number we have here.”
Briggs indicated that reports stating that Desmond H. has fathered children in the last three years were also inaccurate since Desmond H. has been incarcerated since 2009 after his probation was revoked.
Finally, Briggs indicated that the reported figure of $1.49 per month in garnishments was incorrect. In reality, court records show that Desmond H. hasn’t made a court appearance on child support matters since before he was incarcerated back in 2009, and that he had been paying roughly 75 to 80 percent of the $1,500 a month he earned as an electrician’s assistant toward child support.
“I think they spelled Desmond’s name right,” said Briggs. “That was it. Basically everything in the story was incorrect.”
Briggs theorizes that a local media outlet somehow reprinted a 2009 television interview with Desmond H. and supplemented it with the inaccurate information.
Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …
To learn more about divorce, child custody or child support arrears, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.
This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Names have been withheld to protect the identity of the parties.
The Los Angeles Times, “‘Octodad’ update: Officially, he has only 24 kids, not 30,” Rene Lynch, June 1, 2012
The Knoxville News Sentinel, “Magistrate: He’s prolific, but Knoxville dad doesn’t really have 30 kids,” Matt Lakin, May 31, 2012