Courts across the great state of Texas are very concerned about the best interest of a child in the event of divorce. Strict provisions, including jail time for delinquent payments, are enforced on child support orders to ensure that a child does not suffer due to divorce. Child support includes everyday expenses as well medical expenses when are incurred to meet the healthcare needs of a child.
In Dallas, child support enforcement is taken very seriously. Parents who are obligated to make monthly payments for the upkeep and care of their children are required to do so or face penalties if they don't. In the event that a parent who is supposed to be paying child support fails to make the payments, law enforcement will use multiple tactics to pursue them and get them to pay. It can lead to significant problems down the road for the supporting parent.
A new Texas law gives family court judges discretion to put a parent in jail if he or she falls behind on child support payments, regardless of the parent's current payment status. In other words, even if a parent catches up on delinquent payments prior to the child support hearing, the judge still has the option of sending the parent to jail.
Legislative efforts to give judges in Plano and other parts of Texas the ability to enforce support orders with six-month jail sentences might have caught the father of an 11-year-old boy in a clerical nightmare. The dad was paying his court-ordered child support by having it deducted directly from his paycheck through an automated system administered by the state. When he was informed that the deductions were short $3,000, the man paid what was owed plus another $1,000 and thought the matter was resolved.
Texas officials want residents of the state to know if they do not meet their financial obligations to their children, they could go to jail. That message was received loudly and clearly by more than 150 parents in five South Texas counties who recently were arrested for failing to pay child support. The sheriff of Cameron County, where 38 of the delinquent parents reside, called the week-long operation 'very successful." Those arrested in the crackdown now face up to six months behind bars. Any cash bonds posted on behalf of the arrested parents will be paid to the custodial parents and children who are owed back support.
Basketball player Allen Iverson remains in a child support dispute with his ex-wife as of August. The 38-year-old had previously played as a point guard with the Philadelphia 76ers from 1996 to 2006, and from 2009 to 2010. Iverson's ex-wife has allegedly been seeking child support since their divorce in February.
When he left his Texas high school for college, quarterback John Skelton left behind a pregnant girlfriend. She now says he owes her back child support for their daughter. Court records confirm that Skelton, who recently was picked up by the Cincinnati Bengals, owes more than $19,000 in back child support payments. The mother of the seven-year-old says Skelton acknowledged he was the girl's father and agreed to be financially responsible for her when he left college. However, after he began earning a salary from the Arizona Cardinals football team, Skelton apparently changed his tune. He challenged the girl's paternity, and a court-ordered paternity test confirmed he was indeed the father. Then, in 2010, the Texas attorney general issued a notice of child support lien ordering Skelton to make delinquent child support payments. The Arizona Cardinals were required to withhold $267 per month out of Skelton's paycheck. That amount later increased to $2,000 a month. The court also ordered Skelton to pay for health care insurance for the girl and to purchase a life insurance policy for himself naming his daughter as the beneficiary. It appears Skelton now may be ready to accept his responsibility to his daughter. According to the girl's mother, Skelton said earlier this year that he wants to be a better father and have a bigger role in his daughter's life. Disputes over child support are not uncommon. The Skelton case illustrates a necessary first step in many such disputes: to establish a parent-child relationship. If the child's parents were not married at the time the child was born and the father disputes paternity, the court will order a DNA test to establish legal fatherhood. Once paternity is established, the court then will set the amount of the father's continuing child support obligation. Wage garnishment is a common method to recover delinquent payments, but an attorney may help draft a support modification in order to prevent delinquent payments for parents having difficulty making payments.