Two people and often two incomes join together when Houston couples marry. Divorce can be a financial shock as former spouses return to a single income, sometimes with the obligation to pay alimony or child support. Child support guidelines are based on children's needs and, in part, a non-custodial parent's income, which may not remain stable over time.
One of the most trying things for newly divorced parents to deal with is filing their tax returns. For many, this will be the first time they deal with their own returns in quite some time, and they may not be familiar with all the benefits and deductions they can take advantage of. One of the most contentious issues they must deal with is how the Child Tax Credit is allocated (i.e. who gets to claim the credit on their tax returns.)
Divorce is never an easy undertaking, especially if children are involved. If the non-custodial parent isn't paying child support, it makes life difficult for the custodial parent who has to see to the day-to-day expenses that can add up quickly. There are a few ways that a custodial parent in Texas can deal with this problem. It is important for parents to recognize when to involve the courts and when to handle it themselves.
It is not uncommon for family law courts here in Houston to jail a parent for habitually not paying child support. However, some people question if this is effective. In many cases, jail time has not proven effective in solving the problem, especially when those jailed cannot make money to meet their child support payments.
Most Houston residents may have heard President Barack Obama's recent Father's Day speech. It called for responsibility on the part of men with children. This is especially true for those fathers who have not paid financial support, as required by law and in the terms of any divorce agreements they may have with their ex-spouses. According to the president, it may be time for the country to modify child support laws, especially given the recent unemployment that many fathers faced during the recent economic downturn.
The failure to make child support payments can have serious consequences. Sadly, the worst consequences are for the children, whose quality of life is affected. Texas family courts, like most states, are not very forgiving of those who intentionally and persistently avoid their child support obligations. In addition to being ordered to pay amounts in arrears, parents can also serve lengthy jail sentences, have flight restrictions imposed and lose their professional licenses.
In Houston people can be critical of parents who do not support their children financially. Parents who have been delinquent in paying child support are sometimes misjudged and ostracized. Non-custodial parents, like any other people, may suffer from financial difficulties like losing their jobs and they may have no choice but to postpone or not pay child support. However, help is available for unemployed or underemployed non-custodial parents in the state.
When the conversation turns to divorce, people are keen to know about why the couple is breaking up and the emotional struggle they are going through. What is not always discussed is the children's welfare. Yet ensuring the well-being of the children by providing timely child support payments is a parental responsibility even if the family is apart.