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46 percent of Dallas child support payments are delinquent

For many non-custodial parents, child support can be a point of contention. While the intent behind child support payments is to provide for the child's necessities and enhance the child's life, good intentions alone are not enough to guarantee payment, as any Dallas child support lawyer knows.

Last week we covered Deion Sanders' attempts at seeking modification of child support order, and it turns out that he may not be alone. According to a new report, nearly 50 percent of all parents in Dallas County who are required to pay child support are behind on making those payments.

Across Texas, unpaid child support totals $11 billion, a large portion of which may be the result of a struggling economy and job market. State officials said that they have received increased applications to modify people's child support obligations because of a change of circumstances. Many of these people have been suffering because of the prolonged economic recession.

However, some parents are simply ignoring the order to pay child support entirely, leaving custodial parents in a bind. For example, one Texas man is said to owe $179,000 to his children. He has believed to have left the United States for Mexico after spending six months in jail. Choosing to go down this road only hurts children.

When a non-custodial parent fails to pay child support, the custodial parent can turn to the courts, which can then impose consequences for failure to pay. Such consequences include withholding federal tax refunds, garnishing wages, seizing property and suspending the non-custodial parent's drivers or professional licenses. Further failure to pay can result in the non-custodial parent being held in contempt of court, and jail time can be imposed.

In situations where parents truly cannot pay the child support they have been ordered to pay, the court is willing to modify the order. The court will recognize a change in the circumstances and allow the amount to be reduced. Parents who cannot afford their child support payments should consider a modification, rather than putting their child in a tough situation.

Source: Dallas News, "Report: Nearly half of Dallas County parents required to pay child support are behind on payments," Oct. 1, 2012

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