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Texas project helps parents pay child support, get jobs

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.

A joint initiative by the Texas Workforce Commission, district court judges and the Office of the Attorney General is helping jobless parents get back on their feet and continue paying their support obligations. The project, called the Noncustodial Parent Choices program, has seen extraordinary employment, retention and child support collection. Since the launch of the program, child support payments collected total more than $100 million.

This year, more than 200 local parents benefitted from the program. The program originally opened in 2005 to non-custodial parents whose children are or have been recipients of public assistance. The project expanded and it is currently open to other non-custodial parents. In order to qualify, the non-custodial parent must pass eligibility requirements that were established by the NCP Choices program.

Most parents are concerned about their children’s welfare, even if they are divorced. This initiative can help parents cope with child support duties. Work is needed to ensure that a parent has income to provide for his or her children after getting a divorce. Paying on time not only benefits the children by ensuring that their needs are met but it also relieves a parent of legal consequences from delinquent child support payments.

The child support agreement is binding and enforceable. It is considered an act of contempt not to comply with paying child support. In addition to getting a job, non-custodial parents may wish to consider speaking with an attorney. Child support modification can be an option for parents to pay a more affordable amount of financial support.

Source: WOAI, "Program collects child support, helps put parents back to work," Melissa Vega, May 16, 2013

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