Forty Dallas-area parents were arrested recently for failure to pay child support by the Texas Attorney General’s office. During the weeklong sting – codenamed “Operation Lone Star Support” – investigators apprehended those suspected of missing child support payments across 12 different Texas counties.
Parents now in custody may face jail time as long as six months. However, a spokeswoman for the Texas Attorney General, Janece Rolf, gave assurances that those arrested had several opportunities to pay owed child support prior to being arrested. In a statement to CBS-DWF, Rolf said, “When parents refuse to do that, jail is a reality.”
Rolf continued and urged parents behind on child support to contact the Texas Attorney General’s office in an attempt to negotiate the matter before arrests become a real possibility.
Modification of Child Support in Texas
While most child support disputes generally do not go to such extremes as an actual arrest, the failure to pay child support is a serious matter. “When parents violate court orders to pay there will be consequences, “Rolf’s told CBS-DFW – which was definitely illustrated in the recent Texas child support arrest sting.
However, what happens when unforeseen circumstances make it almost impossible for parents to stay current on child support payments? Do they simply have to sit and wait for someone to come arrest them?
Well, the short answer is no. Parents who have a change in circumstances can petition the court for a modification of child support. For example, while going through a particular financial hardship a parent may be eligible for a temporary exemption from child support. Also, a change in child custody may trigger an opportunity for modification in child support payments. Ultimately, it is the parent’s responsibility to stay current on child support payments, but if circumstances change, it may be a good idea to review your options and see if you are eligible for a modification in child support.
Source: CBS-DFW, “AG: 40 Parents Arrested For Skipping Child Support Payments,” May 7, 2012