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Laura Dale & Associates, P.C.

Texas mother avoids five-year jail term, pays $20k child support

For residents of Houston, Texas, parenting after divorce is not only about an emotional investment. Parents need to ensure that they are meeting their financial obligations to their children. A child support payment is necessary to make sure that parents fulfill the needs and living standards of the children.

In a recent case, a 39-year-old mother from Texas paid $20,000 in child support after pleading guilty to felony non-support charges in a Mississippi court. The court had ordered her to pay $5,000 in delinquent payments, as well as $700 to cover court and extradition costs. Additionally, the mother was ordered to pay an additional $270 on top of the regular child support allowance toward her delinquent support. She was given a five-year jail sentence, but that time was suspended, although she will remain on supervision. The attorney general said that the courts are tough on parents who don't fulfill their child support obligation because they need to ensure that the children are not cheated out of child support by their parents.

Some parents who are responsible for paying child support can't meet the financial obligation. As the children get older, their needs often increase. The children need the financial support to physically and emotionally grow and develop. The child support obligations are a child's right, not a privilege.

There may be many different negative consequences from the supporting parent not paying the child support on time or not paying it at all. The parent may end up facing legal consequences, such in this case. Another potential legal consequence is the filing of civil contempt of court charges against a person who fails to comply with child support court orders, which also can result in the parent being incarcerated.

Child support modification is an option for parents who are having financial difficulties and cannot provide child support for their children as ordered. However, if the parent is planning to request a child support modification from the court, he or she must prove his or her inability to pay the current amount of support based on his or her financial circumstances. Any changes to financial support require the court's approval; however, it is better to have the child support amount modified than having to face legal consequences in the event that the parent can't pay.

Source: WDAM, "Mom pays $20K in back child support," April 17, 2013

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