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Houston woman claims NFL player owes her child support

A Texas child support dispute will now play itself out in the courts of North Carolina. A Houston woman has petitioned a North Carolina court to enforce a Texas child support order against Carolina Panther Brandon LaFell. The woman claims the NFL player owes her thousands in delinquent child support payments for their son, who turns two in January.

LaFell's agent says the Texas court issued a child support modification order reducing LaFell's obligation from $4,000 to $1,500, which is the maximum allowed under the Texas child support guidelines for one child. The woman's attorney says the modification order never was signed by the judge, who ordered the $4,000 due to extenuating circumstances relating to the child's health issues. The amount in dispute is at least $23,000. The case is scheduled for trial in February.

The woman also names the Carolina Panthers in her petition. She claims the team failed to withhold the support obligation from LaFell's paychecks in violation of the Texas order. Her attorney says the NFL pays players weekly over the course of the season with pay beginning in August. At issue is whether the Texas order can be enforced in North Carolina.

Child support disputes are always difficult for the parties to navigate. They can become even more complicated when state lines are crossed and issues arise as to the enforceability of one state's order in another jurisdiction. In these complex situations, an experienced family law attorney can prove invaluable. The attorney can make sure the child support guidelines are applied correctly. The attorney also can help with enforcement of a prior support order if one parent is not making payments.

Source: The Charlotte Observer, "Houston woman: Panther owes thousands in child support," Joseph Person, Dec. 12, 2012

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