Sometimes we can spare ourselves from bad outcomes by learning from other people’s mistakes. It pays to stay on top of a modification case with your attorney. An example of a modification case gone very wrong occurred in January 2014.
Fox News reported that Houston, Texas resident Clifford Hall ended up in jail after catching up on unpaid child support and opposing counsel testifying that his back support was paid and he owed nothing.
Hall claims that no one notified him about a modification order for child support. His lawyer stated that some weeks Halls’ employer withheld large child support amounts, other weeks he withheld small amounts, and some weeks no money was withheld at all for child support. To avoid going to jail, Hall paid close to $3,000 in back child support.
A few months earlier in November, opposing counsel testified twice in court that Hall owed no back child support. However, the attorney who represented the mother of Hall’s child wanted Hall to pay $3,000 in attorney fees. Court records also showed Hall had violated the visitation order regarding times he was scheduled to pick up his son. Hall also alleged he knew nothing about the modification for pick up times. Hall had lost his previous job, and his new employer admitted to making clerical errors that resulted in a failure to withhold proper amounts of child support. Despite his employer’s clerical errors, Texas law holds Hall accountable.
Judge Lisa Millard sentenced Hall to spend six months in jail.
The Judge had found Hall in contempt of court when he simply walked out of the courtroom. Walking out was a grave mistake. Judge Millard also indicated that his attorney had the option of filing a motion for reconsideration, which would have allowed the judge to re-evaluate the case.
After receiving the jail sentence, Hall’s attorney appealed.
This case got a lot of media attention, and ABC News reported that after spending a week in jail in July 2014, Hall was scheduled for release. However, his debt had climbed to nearly $10,000 at that point due to attorney and court fees.
Seek legal counsel immediately if significant life changes occur and you’re unable to pay child support. Our attorneys at C.E. Borman & Associates work closely with you to help you understand court procedures. We work vigorously to protect your rights.