holding hands through jail cell bars

A father was ordered to spend six months in jail for not paying child support. Something we can probably get behind. After all, fathers should pay to support their kids, end of story. But wait 'til you hear the rest of it. Clifford Hall had reportedly set up his child support payments to be sent to his ex-wife automatically from his paycheck. The money was being taken out -- but not being delivered to his ex-wife. He didn't find out about it until she sued him.

It was at that point that he began trying to figure out what was going on and realized that some clerical error happened. The money being taken from his paychecks wasn't being deposited where it should. Hall's employer even admitted the mistake.

Hall went about paying his ex-wife all the money he owed her -- plus $1,000 extra. Problem solved, right? Apparently not.

Texas law permits a judge to jail non-child support payers even if the non-payments weren't their fault due to errors like that. And this judge decided to jail Hall. For six months! Hall has turned himself in to serve his sentence.

Given that there are people not spending any time in prison for egregious crimes -- the teen with "affluenza" who killed four people in a drunk driving accident comes to mind -- it's astonishing that Hall will have to serve jail time for what amounts to a mistake that he had no control over. What happened to common sense?

On the other hand, there are some questions here that aren't answered. Why would it take six months for Hall to realize the payments weren't being received? Don't he and his ex-wife ever speak? Was there a history of non-compliance that made her feel like she shouldn't even bother to ask him? Baffling.

I don't see how this helps anything. He certainly won't be able to make child support payments from jail.

Do you think this is right or wrong?

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Mon Jun 23 16:20:27 PDT 2014

Houston father to surrender after employer’s mistake with child support

A Houston father is surrendering himself Tuesday morning to spend the next six months in jail, because of mistake his employer made over child support payments. view full article


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