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Challenges of paying child support

Many noncustodial parents in Texas may struggle to meet their child support obligations. While the terms "deadbeat dad" and "deadbeat mom" are often used to describe parents who do not pay their child support as ordered in court, they may not always be accurate. In many cases, parents may be struggling with overall financial problems and difficulties rather than seeking to avoid child support specifically. After all, people cannot discharge child support debt in bankruptcy, so the hefty support bills may remain even for people who lose almost everything due to a financial crisis.

Of course, many people think of fathers as being the primary deadbeat parents. This is an unfair assumption, as mothers are also noncustodial parents and many also fail to live up to their child support obligations. Statistically, more men are noncustodial parents than women, but custody decisions vary widely due to the circumstances of each individual family. The term "deadbeat" implies that the parent could pay but chooses not to, but many people with overdue child support bills have lost their jobs, become disabled or suffered other circumstances. Overdue or unpaid child support can come with hefty penalties, like wage garnishment, inability to obtain a passport, seized tax refunds or even jail time.

However, people who have experienced changed financial circumstances do have options to help them avoid the "deadbeat" label and the accumulation of child support debt. Because support orders are based on parental income, a parent who is no longer making a large salary can file for a child support modification.

Child support obligations can be adjusted to reflect changed circumstances, and this can help to avoid serious legal and financial consequences. Parents struggling to keep up with child support can contact a family law attorney for advice about seeking a modification.

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