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Affording child support payments

Most divorced parents living in Texas are committed to supporting their children. Unfortunately, circumstances can arise that make it difficult to afford child support payments. Because federal and state laws treat a failure to make payments very seriously, it's important for noncustodial parents who are financially strapped to understand their options.

Whether a child support agreement is the result of a court order or a direct agreement between parents, it's essential that the parent charged with paying support keep up with obligations. However, numerous circumstances could make it difficult for somebody to fulfill their responsibilities. These circumstances include disabilities, employment changes and having to pay medical expenses.

Parents who are having difficulty making support payments should take action as quickly as possible to avoid ending up in arrears. For example, if a parent becomes aware that he or she is about to lose a job or take a pay cut, notifying the other parent and seeking legal advice immediately can help prevent misunderstandings and possible legal or financial penalties. Taking action early can also help reduce the possible negative impact that reduced or missed payments could have on a child.

Many legal professionals tell parents not to rely on an informal agreement regarding a reduction in child support. This is because informal agreements may not be recognized by a family law court and could result in numerous penalties for the parent who has been making payments. Penalties may include revocation of a driver's license, seizing of assets and even jail time. By consulting with a family law attorney, a parent could avoid negative consequences and get their finances back on track after a financial disruption.

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