A father in Houston is going to jail for six months – even though he paid more child support than he owed, reports Click2Houston.com. Clifford Hall did fall behind on his child support to the tune of $3,000 – but the money was being garnished from his employer, not his paycheck.
Due to a clerical error, his company, AT&T, never submitted the funds so that his wife and son could collect. Even though Hall eventually discovered the discrepancy and paid in full, plus an extra $1,000, he’s still being prosecuted under Texas law.
“The law says you can [no] longer cure an error with payment. The judge has the discretion to send you to jail,” Hall’s appeals attorney Tyesha Elam told KHOU.
The case was appealed to the 14th Court of Appeals, but evidence from his employer was not admitted and the appeal was unsuccessful. Texas law allows for jail time even when the payment is made before a hearing date.
Hall is also facing accusations that he violated his custody agreement by keeping his son away from his mother for longer than the agreement allowed. A prior history of late payment didn’t help his case, but during his jail time, Harris will also be in child support arrears.
“It’s a horrible feeling and it makes me sick to my stomach but I have to do it,” Hall said. “I don’t know how it got like this, but I just want to move forward with my life.”
He hopes his story will prove to be a cautionary tale for other parents to make sure that monies withheld from their income are going to the right place.
(Photo: KHOU- TV)
Is this a miscarriage of justice or does Hall deserve to go to jail because of his prior history? Are the courts unfair to fathers who are trying to do the right thing, or does it make sense to punish deadbeat dads? Speak on it!