Clifford Hall’s story of back child support and jail time recently went viral, but his attorney is now  pointing fingers at a new Texas law that could send other parents like him to jail.

Hall, a Houston-area resident, paid nearly $3000 back child support before his court date, according to his attorney Tyesha Elam. “I discovered for some reason his employer was withholding a large amount some weeks, a small amount some weeks, [and] a zero amount some weeks,” said Elam. “I didn’t want to go to jail basically,” Hall added, which is why he repaid the $3,000.

But that court date didn’t go as smoothly as expected. During the court hearing, opposing counsel requested that Hall pay his ex’s $3,000 in attorney fees, and the judge agreed.  It was also revealed that Hall wasn’t following the court’s scheduled times to pick his son up for visitation, a modification he never knew about. The judge then sentenced Hall to 180 days in jail. 

“When she said I remand you to the Harris County Jail for 180 days my mouth just dropped,” said Hall. Hall then walked out of court and was charged with contempt.  “I can’t be there for my son in jail. I can’t pay child support in jail. This is not in the best interest of the child.”

“I’m like he couldn’t have gotten a worse result,” Elam told Fox 26 in Houston. “He could have gone in there with a monkey and gotten a better result.”

This summer,  Texas legislators repealed a provision preventing a respondent from being jailed if he or she was paid in full at the time of a hearing, in order to give judges the discretion to punish repeat offenders. The vote in both chambers was unanimous. Before the repeal, Texas law prohibited judges from finding someone who owes back child support in contempt for nonpayment if the obligator covered the arrearage before the court hearing. 

Elam says Hall’s jailing is a result of this change. “If Mr. Hall can go to jail, you can go to jail, I can go to jail,” she said. “This is what I’m fighting against.” She added that she is crafting an appeal.

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  • EbonyLolita

    I don’t agree with jailing WORKING black men who need to pay child support. The chance that he will lose employment while incarcerated is HIGH! The child loses out in the end & a very bad cycle begins. If the man paid up before the court date then I don’t understand the reason for incarceration. TRUST me I worked for ACS in NYC & NYC allows men to be DEADBEATS FOR YEARS! So WTH is going on in Texas?

    • There was NEVER any epidemic of men (especially black men) leaving the family. The feminist named Lenore Weitzman who got the current child support laws to further favor women based on her study that Texas & all 50 states use for guidelines ADMITS DEADBEAT DADS ARE MORE MYTH THAN REALITY! Google
      “POST DIVORCE WEALTH GAP WAS A LIE AUTHOR AGREES” It has always been a lie. This is directly from the feminist who wrote the guidelines you use nationwide. Checkmate…

  • shawtynequa

    He needs to be locked up so he will learn to pay hi debts. The child’s needs to see his father in jail so he will obey the law when he becomes an adult.

    Ii he can’t get a job when he gets out that is his problem.

    • Anthony

      This argument makes nonsense at all. The man paid his money before the court date, so the threat of jail, not actual incarceration was enough for this parent.
      Causing the man to lose his job will not help his son in any way. The notion that a kid seeing his father in jail is going to help him is sick. You sound like some racist who feels that a son seeing his dad hanging from a tree will teach the kid his place.