According to the Texas Attorney General’s Office, over $27 billion in child support has been collected over the 11 years since Attorney General Greg Abbot has been in charge. Roughly $3.6 billion in child support payments were collected in 2012, which apparently set a national record for child support collection over the past six years.
Abbot recently appointed Charles Smith as head of the Child Support Division. Smith has plans to continue the efforts of the agency in child support. If Greg Abbott’s record is to be followed, there will no doubt be a big focus on enforcing child support orders and punishing delinquent parents. That, for the most part, is a good thing, but what many people don’t think about is the damage that is done to some parents, mostly fathers, who are disciplined for failing to pay what they simply cannot pay.
Failure to pay child support can result in contempt of court and the issuance of an arrest warrant. Fathers who are behind on child support payments can spend up to six months in jail. Any cash bonds posted by them or another are paid to the custodial parent and children for child support. For fathers who are struggling financially, the time in prison makes it even more difficult to fulfill their child support obligations.
Fathers who are unable to meet their child support obligations may seek to have their payments modified. This can be done in cases where there has been a material and substantial change in circumstances since the order was issued. It can also be done after three years since the order was established, when the monthly amount owed under child support guidelines is either 20 percent or $100 different from the original order.
Fathers who are unable to make their support payments should look into having their order modified, and work with an experienced attorney if possible.
Source: Lubbock Online, “$27 billion in child support collected under Abbott,” Enrique Rangel, October 30, 2013.