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A father in Houston is going to jail for six months – even though he paid more child support than he owed, reports 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!

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23 thoughts on “Houston Father Pays Child Support – But Still Goes To Jail

  1. seriously on said:

    Timekeeper, you are whiner and I see you stayed away from the facts…If you can read, the article clearly states the money was suppose to be taken out of his check and was not, he knew that..So he could have called the payroll department months ago to resolve the matters…It is all about responsibility and if you really “care” you would not go all juvenile and whining…And tell folks take care of your business and bad choices equal bad consequences. You also left out the part of his contempt of court for the custody issues…which is a separate issue than the child support….

    You preach excuses for the weak and ignorant…I am stating black folks cannot afford to be ill-informed and obtuse…This was an avoidable situation…

    So cry more and see how that works for you. I only addressed those that address me in a rude way…So if you cannot take it whiner don’t dish it out. Exactly how old are you?

    • Timekeeper on said:


      Your name calling is again unnesseary. I have read the facts, I simly see this situation a very different way than you do. I would prefer a more congenial conversation rather than attacking someone. Wouldnt that be better? I hope so. I am not trrying to argue with you, as you are entitled to your perspective. But there isno need to call me names becuase I see this different than you do. I respect your opinion and I hope this rellieves some of your anger. I simply see this as a guy who did really try ( even if it didnt work out the way he intended. He will be in Jail and will fall further and further behind. The one that loses is his child who gets nothing at all during this time and they will all fall into a financial abyss and probably never catch up. My point is that there are so many harneded criminals we could go after than this. We all make mistakes and this gy made a bad one. I jost dont beleve prison is the answer. If you feel otherwise, fine. No neeed to get mad, it isnt about whining for me it is about the justice system.Which still lags behind when it comes to black men in general. I hope we can respectfully disagree. If not, then I will leave you to your thoughts. But I will never believe this is a situation where Jail helps anyone. Respectfully yours……..

      • seriously on said:

        Gee, I wonder is your snide comments to me the same as name calling… Just Wondering

        I have never been an angry person in my life….anger is for the weak. However, the legal system in this country do not lag behind….kinda of uniformed and juvenile minded…Where have you been? The legal system in this country is a legal lynching system for black men and black females… So it is prudent for black folks to stay as far out of their reach as possible and we cannot afford to be ignorant of the law…BTW, the hardened criminals? They want them out of jail as along as possible so they can continue to destroy our communities by way of drug dealing, murder, rapes, robberies etc…as many black folks as they can (Take the pressure of them if we commit the genocides ourselves). It is the fools like this man who doesn’t have a criminal background and has possibilities to be upwards…He is the real threat to white American….So no we cannot afford to fall into these traps that they lay…By setting the traps ourselves.

        You want to really help black men let this be a teachable lesson to them, because no one is going to help us but us…And well that’s not exactly working out as well.

        He knew when that money was not being taken out of his check, that is wasn’t going away…No he doesn’t deserve jail time, but he did earn his way there.

        Have a good day. I’ll go take my meds

  2. Heartbroken on said:

    I believe that a man should take care of his responsibility if he is a father of a young child, but I also think putting the parent (with a job) in jail for not paying child support is a stupid law. How is that going to help the situation? Better than that, how is it going to help the child if the parent is locked up and can’t work? Where is the money going to come from? You would think they want the parent working so that they can pay.

  3. seriously on said:

    This is also not the first time he has been in arrears in child support and he was in contempt of court because he violated the visitation order by keeping his son longer that the court ordered visitation time…So, perhaps the jail time was for the visitation order he violated. If he is having problem with his baby’s momma, he can fight that but legally….

    • seriously on said:

      I find the term “hate” annoying and it makes the person stating it insignificant and a whiner. This man had a choice first condom, then child support he was in arrears and garnished but he did not have to be, he could have made arrangements to pay for his child himself…And since you are so full of love, you should inform people who have children better to make your own arrangements as oppose of someone doing it for you…Funny how he came up with the money and 1000.00 more in addition to the money taken out of his check when he ass was going to jail…Why that could imply he had it all along and should have paid up…Ignorance is no excuse and it is killing black communities…Perhaps the Hate you speak of is self hatred…

      • Timekeeper on said:

        Well, you can call me as many names as you like. Still, your Hate is Real and that is what is truly annoying. You have attahced a mean spirited reply to almost every perosn on this post. I think that speaks for itself.

  4. carlt on said:

    To seriously, once you are on child support which is mandated by the court system, you no longer pay directly to the custodial. Payment is collected by your employer and forwarded to the court, even if you pay directly to the custodial and your employer is deficient in forwarding the payment you’re still in arrears. Stop passing judgment when there’s not enough information supplied in this article.

    • seriously on said:

      Thanks for your ghetto ignorance legal interpretation, however no….Most responsible and intelligent men know you do not have to wait for a mandate from the court to pay child support. You can simply take you w2 to child support and start paying yourself, at which time their is no court mandate or order for garnishment. The simply give you are optional of deducting from your check or sending in the payments yourself. If you wait til court order than you are already in arrears. And since he was in arrears and up against Texas law, he could have called to make sure the payments was being received…As it was hiss ass not Texas or his employer who will go to jail….

      Or he can simply listen to you and his employer and not check his own business and go to jail…Or how about some condoms it is the cheaper deal. Because if he was right, he would have been in arrears or garnished…

    • Timekeeper on said:

      You are right Joyce. Texas does suck. More importantly, so does the entire Justice system. Some seem to feel thatr jail is the answer for everything, and if this were a hardened criminal, i might feel the same. A jusge is supposed to have the capacity to balance punishment with behaviour and intent. In this case he did neither. Those who just love to see a man locked up may cheer with glee when this happens. However, there is along term affect financailly and emotionally for this child and it didnt need to go there. In the meantime, people who actually deserve to be in Jail for horrific crimes continue to be free. This is not what the justice system, or rather as Richard Pryor once said the “justus) system was or is supposed to be like.

  5. Nancy Williamson on said:

    Key word here is “garnished”! Apparently he was NOT paying child support voluntarily – he was being FORCED to pay through the garnishment. Had he taken responsibility as a decent father and paid on his own he wouldn’t be in this situation. The system mishandled business that he should have taken care of on his own. Texas is not the state to do such a thing. I know in other states a jail sentence wouldn’t even have been on the table.

    • seriously on said:

      And he paid 1000.00 over when his ass was on the line…It is amazing how these men cough up money when they ass in on their way to jail. Which means he had the means all along to support and an condom is even cheaper. It is this type of ignorance and skewed logic that is killing our communities…

      We need to separate the wheat from the chaff and support those living right and with character.

    • seriously on said:

      No he was wrong to let his child support go into arrears while working. He should have been man enough to resolve his own problems as you see if he doesn’t handle his responsibility..somebody else will handle it for you flawed and screwed up…

      These people making babies and having babies they cannot afford and do not want to parent or pay for is the problem.

  6. Cynic13 on said:

    This is very wrong! Having a father in jail will do more damage to the child than having a dad who had to catch up on late payments. STUPID!

  7. Timekeeper on said:

    I totally agree with you, Linda. Gender bias is a two way street. We all know some bad fathers that could use a few weeks in jail to straighten up. This Is Not One Of Them!!

    • seriously on said:

      Personally, this man is a fool and no I do not feel sorry for him…The lesson to learn from this for man; especially Black Men who do not fair equal and fair in the legal to cover your own ass. Use condoms, be selective who you father children with…go to child support agency yourself and make your own arrangement it is a simple formula and if you lose your job or cut in pay…report that as well…Because if you lost your job you will be in arrearage but they will not seek any legal action against, since you made them aware. Ignorance is a choice and you do not get to cry later. He can sue his employer,,,but if will be better for him and his child is they agreed to hold his job for him. Because ignorance and bad choices are costly…I’d rather have my job.

  8. Linda on said:

    This is absolutely ridiculous, how is the man supposed to support his son now? This law should support the fathers that are doing right by their children as well as the trial judge if he has the power to overturn the sentence..

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