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Unemployment and inability to pay child support in Texas

For Dallas parents who are paying child support, there are times when the custodial parent might accuse that parent of violating the child support agreement and racking up delinquent payments. In some cases, this might be due to a parent deciding to avoid making the required payments. In other cases, however, the obligor parent has a legitimate reason for the failure to pay. One of these reasons might be job loss. When a child support obligor experiences a change in income, that parent can take steps to account for it.

The Office of the Attorney General in Texas must be told immediately if there is a change in income and an inability to pay child support. Paying parents should remember that informing the OAG is not enough for the amount to be reduced. A legal change can only occur if there is a new support order.

Those who are seeking to have the agreement modified due to a change in financial circumstances can have this done if there was a substantial life change; if it has been three years since the order was implemented; and if the amount that the noncustodial parent is paying has changed by 20 percent or $100 from what would be paid based on state guidelines.

When a parent is seeking child support changes due to unemployment, the court might order the noncustodial parent to provide proof that he or she is actively looking for a job or is taking part in a program that provides training for employment. It is a mistake to believe that having a viable reason for being behind on payments will lead to a past-due order being dismissed. This is why the issue should be reported to the OAG as soon as possible.

There are also assistance programs that can help a noncustodial parent seek another job. The Texas Workforce Commission will provide skills training and assistance in job placement. Those who need other forms of help such as literacy, education courses, substance abuse treatment and parenting skills can get it through the State.

Parents who are ordered to pay for a child's everyday expenses but are unable to do so need to know how to get a child support modification to avoid legal problems. Speaking to an attorney experienced in child support issues can help to get a change in the support agreement.

Source: Texasattorneygeneral.gov, "Child Support Orders -- What if I lose my job or I am unable to pay child support? -- Are there any services available to help me get a job so that I can pay my child support?," accessed on Feb. 8, 2016

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