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Dealing with child support delinquencies

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.

Often, a non-custodial parent can’t pay child support because of financial hardship. Keeping communication open can sometimes make the delinquent parent more amenable to paying what is possible. It’s also important that visitation remains intact, as withholding these privileges can violate a court order. If the parent can’t pay the total amount owed, the other parent should ask what amount can be paid now and when to expect the balance. This may help avoid worsening a child support dispute.

Custodial parents should not assume that child support payments will be timely received when creating a household budget. This will create a dependence on money that may not be coming in. When payments are made, they can be used for things that the children want or need.

The most recent data from the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement shows that over $100 billion in delinquent child support is owed to custodial parents. It is thus obvious that there are times when persuasion and appealing to reason simply do not work, and a family lawyer may need to get involved. In some circumstances, back payments may be able to be collected through wage garnishments or the attachment of bank accounts and income tax refunds.

Source: US News, “What to Do When Your Ex Won’t (or Can’t) Pay Child Support”, Geoff Williams, November 20, 2013

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