Although our blog focuses primarily on California family law, occasionally there is a story from another part of the country that is too riveting not to share. Today, we will discuss one such story from Michigan, where a father of 23 was recently sentenced to two years in jail for failing to pay over $500,000 in child support.

In July, 44-year-old Howard Veal pleaded guilty to failure to pay child support to the mother of two of his children, aged 11 and 16 years old. According to court records, Veal had paid less than $90 for the children's support over the past seven years, and owed their mother $63,000. Veal was given the option of having his charges reduced by paying a percentage of his child support arrearages, but by September had not paid any amount.

According to an investigation, Veal fathered 23 children by 14 different women. Veal had previously stated that he fathered 15 children, but that he could not remember them all. Court records show that Veal currently owes approximately $533,000 in child support payments.

Although Michigan's sentencing guidelines call for no more than six months in jail for failure to pay child support, Assistant Attorney General Mitchell Wood asked the judge to issue a greater sentence. "The Attorney General's Child Support Division has prosecuted thousands of felony nonsupport cases since its inception, but none as outrageous as this," he said, in a written statement. "For a decade, between 1989 and 1999, the defendant impregnated at least one woman every single year."

Judge Dennis Leiber agreed, calling Veal "the poster child for irresponsibility" and sentencing him to 23-48 months in jail. "When you create a human being, I think you have a fundamental responsibility to provide for that child with necessities like food, clothing and shelter," Leiber said. "You're an insult to every responsible father who sacrifices to provide for their children."

Source: ABC News, "Ultra Deadbeat Dad Gets 23 Months in Jail", Lyneka Little, 29 September 2010