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The importance of child support

Texas parents may be surprised to learn that, in 2013, states around the country have had to intervene in child support cases for approximately 17 million children. In Texas alone, more than $3.5 billion was distributed to custodial parents in that year the form of child support. However, Texas parents who do not have primary custody of their children reportedly owe more than $11 billion in back payments.

Single parents often rely on child support in order to provide financially for their children. It has been estimated that these payments constitute approximately 39 percent of a single mother's income, making a big difference in the parent's ability to provide for their child or children. Among custodial parents who can collect child support, the poverty rate is reportedly reduced by about 25 percent.

Texas provides child support programs to help custodial parents locate parents who are absent, enforce child support orders and collect payments, among other services. Across the nation, more than 54,000 individuals are employed to assist with the collection of child support and with disbursing the collected support money. If the non-custodial parent refuses to make the court-ordered payments, the parent seeking child support may have the payments garnished from the non-custodial parent's paycheck and from other forms of income.

In some situations, the non-custodial parent's child support delinquency may come from a genuine inability to pay. When this is the case, a family law attorney may help the non-custodial parent demonstrate that their financial circumstances have changed in order to get the order modified. If, however, the non-custodial parent simply refuses to pay, the attorney can help a custodial parent seek the child support that is owed through other methods, including through garnishing the non-custodial parent's wages and Social Security retirement or disability benefits.

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