Overpaid Child Support Amounts To Jail Time: Man Jailed 6 Months After Overpaying Son’s Child Support

It’s not common you hear about such a thing as overpaid child support, and when you do, you certainly wouldn’t think it amounts to jail time. That’s exactly what Clifford Hall of Houston thought.

Contempt charge were filed against him for failing to pay his child support, but he paid up by the time his court hearing came around. Hall might be jailed six months in this case. The possibility of not seeing his 12-year-old son for six months is unthinkable to him.

Hall tells Click 2 Houston:

“It’s not me I’m really worried about. It’s him. How is he going to be for the next six months? I can’t live not knowing am I going to jail today. Am I going to jail tomorrow? I want to get it over with.”

So, how can someone be jailed because of overpaid child support? Hall’s attorneys say he did fall behind on support payments and owed more than $3,000 in arrearages, but they claim the money garnished out of his paycheck was never sent by his employer to the court for his son and ex-wife to receive. By the time Hall noticed the error, he paid the arrearages, plus $1,000 extra. Unfortunately, a new Texas law requires he be sentenced jail time despite overpaying the child support.

ABC 13 explains in its report that under a new Texas law, “family court judges have the discretion to jail delinquent child-support payers, even if they have paid in full by the time of the hearing.”

The 43-year-old father is, therefore, sentenced to six months in jail by Judge Lisa Millard. His attorneys tried appealing the new law at the 14th Court of Appeals, but lost. Hall says he will turn himself in to the judge Tuesday morning.

Attorneys for Hall hope this case serves as a warning to other parents out there that they, too, can face this type of judgment. Hall’s lawyers also hope the judge will reconsider her decision and legislatures will change Texas law.

Attorney Tyesha Elam tells Click 2 Houston:

“The law says it was due on the first. You didn’t pay it on the first, you can go to jail for six months.”

Besides the child support issue, Clifford Hall is accused of not following a court-ordered visitation schedule and kept his son longer than he was allowed to.

All Hall hopes for at this point is that others can learn from his experience of being jailed in spite of the overpaid child support payments:

“Fathers, please learn from my experience.”

[Image via Commons Wikimedia]

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