With very few exceptions, noncustodial parents (usually but not always the father) are required by law to pay monthly child support to the child's custodial parent (usually but not always the mother). This legal obligation takes effect as soon as the custodial parent obtains a child support order from a family law court. Child support orders are available to unmarried mothers as well as to custodial parents who have divorced the child's noncustodial parent.
A child support order is a serious legal document. The parent who owes child support (called "the obligor" because he or she is legally "obligated" to pay child support) must make monthly payments on time or face serious consequences. Often, the child support payments are set up so that the monthly amount is automatically withdrawn from the obligor's paycheck. This system helps custodial parents who rely on child support income by assuring regular payments. It also protects parents who pay child support from falling behind due to forgotten payments and facing the associated negative consequences.
Parents who fall seriously behind in child support payments run the risk of having their driver's licenses revoked, being refused issuance of a U.S. passport, and even going to jail. Child support obligors can also face negative consequences for underreporting income or for intentionally remaining underemployed in order to avoid a child support obligation.
If your financial circumstances have changed and made it difficult to keep up with your child support obligation and other financial responsibilities, the best answer is not to avoid paying child support. You do have reasonable options, including asking the family court to review and adjust the child support order based on your changed circumstances.
More information about child support obligations for non-custodial parents is available at the website of the Child Support Division of the Office of the Texas Attorney General.
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At Pfister Family Law, we have protected the rights of people across north Texas for more than 20 years. Board-certified in family law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, attorney John J. Pfister, Jr. understands that every case is different and will take the time to learn the details of your situation. We will then carefully craft an individualized approach to help you get the outcome you want.
For an appointment with an experienced child custody lawyer who can help you understand the rights and responsibilities of child support obligors in Texas, contact our office by e-mail or call us at (972) 370-5172.