In 1986, Essie Lee Morrison of Georgia had a child.  She told her boyfriend, Frank Hatley, now 50 years old, that the child was his.  The two never married and broke up shortly afterwards.

Morrison applied for public support for the child when the child was two years old.   Georgia then collected child support payments from Hatley for the next thirteen years.

In 2000, Hatley learned that the child might not be his. A DNA test confirmed it.  The Court released him from any future child support.  But he signed an agreement with the Office of Child Support Services to pay over $16,000 in past due child support.

Hatley continued to pay that debt down to about $10,000, but fell behind in 2006 when he lost his job.  He was jailed for six months.  He resumed paying.  Then he became unemployed again and lost his home.  The court put him back in jail in June of 2008.

Finally, the court released him from jail last month finding that he was indigent and should not be jailed for failing to make the child support payments.  The debt has been canceled but the State has yet to release his driver’s license and income tax refunds.

More on this story at