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Ways of finding a noncustodial parent

It may sometimes be necessary to locate a noncustodial Texas parent because of a need to establish paternity, in order to collect child support or for some other reason. The state child support agency may assist in this process. Information such as the noncustodial parent's birth date and Social Security number may be helpful. With this information, the agency can search the Federal Parent Locator Service. The FPLS is able to crosscheck with a number of different agencies including the IRS, the Department of Veteran Affairs, and the Department of Defense.

Other potential resources for locating noncustodial parents include their friends and relatives, the postal service, employers, and police records. Once it is determined that the parent needs to be located, these sources must be accessed within 75 days. The process can also be repeated quarterly.

In addition to the FPLS, states also have their own locator services. These services can interface with databases of new hires as well as the state child support registry. If the parent is in another state, that state's resources can be used. If all else fails, a caseworker might turn to sources such as telephone companies or even social media to locate the parent.

The position of the court is that both parents have an obligation to support their child. A parent who is struggling to meet a child support order should not simply stop paying and then try to avoid detection. If parents have had a change in income or another situation that has led to their inability to pay support, they can ask for a modification through the court system. However, even if the modification is granted, it will have no effect on any amounts that are in arrears.

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