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What happens when the other parent tricks the system?

Many Texas custodial parents depend on child support payments to meet the needs of their children. However, with almost half of parents nationwide receiving partial or no child support payments, many parents find themselves struggling to meet those needs. In some cases, the partial or non-existent payments are a result of voluntary impoverishment.

Voluntary impoverishment is a term used when a person voluntarily earns less money than what they could actually be earning or when they report earning less money than they actually earn in order to trick the system and pay lower child support payments. In an economy where people often work freelance, some non-custodial parents might choose to work and get paid under the table so as not to report their actual earnings, resulting in a lower amount of child support being awarded to the custodial parent. In such cases, the custodial parent does have some options to attempt to receive the right amount of support.

If the parents only have a verbal agreement, the custodial parent's first step is contacting their Office of Child Support Enforcement to officially file for child support payments and receive a legally binding order. The office then launches an investigation into the non-custodial parent's financial history, including their work history, to determine if they are indeed using voluntary impoverishment to manipulate the system. If the office determines that the parent is doing this, they have the right to award child support payments in the amount that correlates to what the office decides the parent should be capable of earning.

Child support is often necessary for many parents to provide their children with the best standard of living possible. A parent going through the process of seeking child support might choose to contact a lawyer with family law experience who can provide knowledge of local legislation, guidance and support through the process.

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