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Lottery winner owes $29,000 in child support

Winning the lottery can be a dream come true for many people, as the winnings can provide the means to upgrade from a current standard of living, whether by buying a new car or home, traveling the world or simply allowing the winner the freedom to follow his passion rather than merely holding down a job. And while many lottery-winner-hopefuls bemoan the taxes that must be paid on the winnings, any Texas child support attorney can point to another consequence: states can deduct any unpaid child support from the winnings.

Last week a New Jersey man won the $338 million Powerball lottery. However, it was been discovered that there was an arrest warrant out for the winner because he owed $29,000 in unpaid child support. The man has five children of various ages, though it is not clear for which children the payments are owed. The arrest warrant was issued in 2009.

In a situation where a parent has failed to pay child support and a warrant has been issued, typically, the parent has the option of either paying the owed support amount or working with authorities to devise a modification of the child support order. Arrest can also result.

Courts take child support orders seriously, and if there is a change of circumstances that prevents a parent from meeting his or her obligations under the order, that parent should take steps to get a modification as soon as possible, rather than simply not making payments. Generally, to get a modification, both parents must agree to the change, or there must be an order from the judge.

A lottery spokesperson indicated that lottery winners of over $600 are investigated for outstanding debts, including child support payments. While laws vary by state, the Texas Lottery Commission must make a similar investigation, and under Texas state laws, child support can be deducted from lottery winnings.

Source: Cnn.com, "Powerball winner wanted for child support," Lorenzo Ferrigno, March 29, 2013

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