Clifford Hall Faces Jail Time for Paying Too Much Child Support: How the System Treats Good Dads Badly

January 8, 2014  |  

We often hear stories about fathers who don’t pay child support. And a father paying child support and visiting their child regularly isn’t something that makes the news either. Clifford Hall’s situation is quite unique: he is facing jail time in spite of paying child support.

How did that happen? Hall had been paying to support his 11-year-old son. “It’s my responsibility to take care of him. I brought him into this world, I have to,” he told FOX 26 in Houston last week. What more can you ask for?

When the amount of money Hall was supposed to pay was modified, he wasn’t informed. The opposing counsel said that as of last November Hall was all caught up on payments and didn’t owe anything else. However, his ex wife’s attorney felt that Hall should pay the nearly $3,000 that she is owed in fees and the judge agreed with this. Hall paid it stating that he didn’t want to go to jail. Makes sense to me. Hall had also discovered that the court documents had stated that he was not following the allotted times to pick up and drop off his son during visitation. Something else he says he did not know about. To make matters worse, his lawyer had discovered that his employer was withholding money from him.

Hall was sentenced to six months in jail and said he would turn himself in shortly.

I’ve heard of and know a few fathers personally who have owed back child support. When facing jail time they paid the money owed and the impending sentence was redacted. However, every judge is different. Generally speaking, if someone owes back child support and a motion for contempt is filed, they could face being imprisoned. I’m sure there’s more to the story than what has been reported.

Regardless of whether or not there is more to the story, what kind of man Mr. Hall may be personally and professionally, and his relationship with his son’s mother I feel for this man. When my fiancee passed away all I wanted to do was continue to take care of my daughter like I had. I have undergone custody and visitation hearings for my daughter when her grandparents were trying to get sole custody of her. Having to undergo hearings in both New York and Virginia, I was willing to do whatever was needed to take care of not only my responsibility but someone I loved dearly.

My fiancee’s parents didn’t get custody of my daughter; but the judge did issue scheduled visitation. I thought it was bogus that I was in court negotiating visitation with grandparents like I was in the midst of a divorce with them. They got every other Thanksgiving, the whole Christmas holiday starting December 26 until January 5 and four weeks in the summer. My lawyer told me not to worry about it. One of two things happens: either one party loses interest or eventually both parties are able to work something out and the agreement in court is no longer needed.

Many times that gets lost when parents of a child are no longer together. Sometimes the child becomes a bargaining chip. Sometimes threatening with legal action is done to hit people where it hurts. No matter what, an attempt was made to be there for a child physically and financially. Whether Clifford Hall underpays child support or visits his son too much he can’t be a good father incarcerated for six months. He really can’t be a good father after that six months because how hard will it be to pay child support when employers are wary to hire people with a felonious record?

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