Roland S. Martin Daily Podcast 01.06.14: Father Gets Jail Time Despite Paying Outstanding Child Support; Find Out Why


Clifford Hall is set to go to prison despite paying an outstanding child support bill which accrued unbeknown to him.

Hall says he paid the almost $3,000 in child support but the court ordered him to pay the mother of his child’s attorney fees which totaled to almost $3,000. The court also cited him for skipping out on court scheduled visits. Eventually Hall was held in contempt of court and ordered to 6-months in jail.

Roland Martin talks to Hall’s attorney Tyesha Elam to get to the bottom of this strange story.

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  • Denise Martin

    What is so strange about this. He abandoned his responsibilities, she had to spend thousands to chase him and he owes attorney fees. I don’t see anything strange about it. Happening every day in every city and town.

    • ellenicole

      He didn’t abandon his responsibilities. He just didn’t read. The child support was coming out of his check. And in his mind until the order was modified he was doing what he was supposed to do.

      • Denise Martin

        That’s still not a defense for leaving her and the child with the debt of getting his attention. In his mind…

    • Stan H

      You must have read a different case. Where does it say that he abandoned his responsibilities? He was paying through a court-ordered deduction order. If the amount was changed with or without his knowledge (without clearly denies him of due process) the new order still should have been sent to his employer (by the wife’s attorney) and taken out automatically also. The basic requirement to put anyone in jail for contempt is that the contempt is willful. There’s NO evidence of that here. For this judge to put someone in jail for six months who’s gainfully employed (in this economy), taking care of his child and exercising visitation is ludicrous. The primary role of the family court judge is to protect the best interests of the child. How is that accomplished by putting the primary bread-winner in jail for six months (most likely costing him his job) when he’s paid all of his support? And why does the attorney get 3G for one hearing?

      • Denise Martin

        You are right. I’m not sure I got the story straight. Is he saying he never received any notification before he was found in default? I get copious documents form the courts in regards to the child support judgement I won. He didn’t know what was up with his case? Can Happen for sure. Not clear what happened here.

        • Stan H

          I read the story as saying that he was paying though an income deduction order, and that his support was increased without his knowledge, AND without a new income deduction order. Then he was held in contempt for not paying the increase that he knew nothing about. Something sounds fishy.

          • Denise Martin

            If that is the truth OK. But the process of increasing support is massive. Ignoring it doesn’t give you a pass. It’s hard to believe that he got nothing as he was in the system for automatic payments. I have heard every Oh poor me story from both sides. If you have a child – you stay vigilant on what your current responsibilities are.

          • Stan H

            If he ignored notices, then it’s obviously on him. That’s not what the story’s saying, though. Once you’re in the system, it’s not that massive at all. Due process requires, at a minimum, “constructive notice”. If he paid in accordance with the only notice that he had, he can’t be held in willful contempt. Even IFhe was proven to have ignored the notice, how is it in the best interests of the child to put the primary bread-winner in jail for six months (again, most likely costing him the job that’s paying the support) when he’s current on all of his support (even the support that he didn’t know about)?

          • TheFlipSide

            Why is the term primary bread winner being used? Who’s to say that the mom isn’t making money and just feels the dad should be equally responsible for what he help equally create?

          • Stan H

            OK, let’s assume that SHE’S the primary breadwinner. The question STILL stands: How is it in the best interests of the child to put the him in jail for six months (again, most likely costing him the job that’s paying the support with) when he’s current on all of his support (even the support that he didn’t know about)?

          • Denise Martin

            I have been through this process over and over as I fought to get my son’s father to pay his obligation. He moved to get the amount reduced and they notified me at least four times in six months that I had to act or he might win. He alleged all kinds of Boo Who. If he truly wasn’t notified than I bleed for him.

          • Stan H

            There are lots of “dead-beat dads” out there, and I’m sorry that you (and your son) were hurt by one. That doesn’t negate the fact that Mr. Hall doesn’t appear to be one.

          • Stan H

            The post from “One dedicated teacher” above has a link showing exactly what I was talking about. The judge actually chastised the prosecutor for causing the man to lose his “good job”, causing him to fall further behind on child support.

          • Denise Martin

            I agree. Thanks!

  • lareinejd

    I think there is more to the story, if he was current on his child support she would not have had to take him in the first place.

  • ?Really?

    This is ridiculous. What benefit is it to society or the persons involved for this man to be incarcerated? This is a no win situation. Just a waste. It cost more to incarcerate him than the attorney fees and past due amount combined for those six months. Another black man in jail. Another child with no father present. Another systemic battle to overcome. As a woman, and the daughter of a single parent who successfully raised two children by herself when my parents divorced and my father split without providing support I don’t feel one ounce of empathy for the mother . Stop having what you can’t provide for. MY MOM DID IT WITH NO HANDOUTS OR EXTERNAL FINANCIAL HELP. And she NEVER badmouthed my father for it. As for the father, do we know if there was a payment plan as an option instead of just jail time? If he has already paid the past due it stands to reason that he could come up with the attorney fees given time and opportunity. The key word here is “unbeknown”. Did he skip court for work? Was he unaware of the subpoena? So many holes.

  • RL

    There are a few red flags here:

    1. A modification to a court order and both parents were not in the court? Most modifications (speaking from my own experience) are done with a court date sent to both parents and both show up in court that day.

    2. If there was a modification to his child support he should have received noticed from the court as well as his employer.

    3. A judge making a father pay attorney fees for the other parent? Attorney fees are paid by the person who hired the lawyer in a child support case.

    4. It was mentioned that he walked out of court during proceeding??????? Now this is just my take but I think the judge was mad that he walked out and wanted to prove something to the father.

    So as lareinejd mentioned below, there is more to the story but what do you expect it was reported by FOX NEWS……..

    Just my .02

  • One_Dedicated_Teacher

    Mr. Roland Martin take a look at my case similar to Mr. Hall situation.
    Yet they say I am wrong???? The court judge saw what happened and did nothing. How many men have been done wrong by the system? Tell Me?
    Look at the videos in this series to see the real truth. If any one knows of an attorney who can help, let me know. Thank You!

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  • Jenng

    My fathea man. He made sure his children were taken care of at all times. It was this father’s responsibility to read the documents and be aware of his responsibilities. He paid off an arrearage period. This mother had to hire an attorney to make him pay. She is entitled to attorney’s fees. Not falling for his ” I’m the victim” nonsense.

  • Chris

    Some of you are very correct. THERE IS A LOT MORE TO THIS STORY. 1st of all the headline it self makes no sense. Why would anyone sentence a Father to jail for OVER paying and spending TOO much time with his child. Please, please check the facts!!! Mr. Hall hasn’t missed any of his court dates. He knows exactly what is going on. The mother of this child is a very hardworking business owner who takes care of her family. This is also about an 11 year old boy who has to deal with all of this. I would urge
    everyone, before you take up this case talk to the child’s mother and the judge. Just a warning, if you do not you may end up with some egg in places you hadn’t planned on. There is also more than one side to a story.