Premier Family Law Attorneys

“Deadbeat” Doesn’t Apply to Everyone Who Can’t Pay Child Support

It is not always easy for non-custodial parents to pay child support. Many can’t afford to pay but try to make up for it in other ways.

After a divorce, parenting time is usually either split 50/50 or one parent – officially considered the custodial parent – has more time with the children than the other. In rarer cases, the custodial parent has sole custody, while the other parent is limited to how often he or she can see the children, if at all. Whatever the case, non-custodial parents in Texas, or those who have a higher income than the other in equal custody cases, end up with child support orders from the court.

The purpose of child support is to help custodial parents meet the needs of their children. It may be difficult for single parents to make ends meet, whether they are the ones with custody or those who pay child support. This is especially true for low-income families.

Many who can’t pay still try to make things right

In many cases, mothers end up with the majority of custody, while fathers are expected to pay child support. Some use the phrase “deadbeat dads” to label those fathers who fail to keep up on their court-mandated child support. However, according to TIME magazine, many fathers want to be able to provide for their children but lack the financial means to fully meet their obligations. In these cases, numerous fathers who are otherwise considered to be deadbeats provide for their children in other ways, such as supplying food, clothing and baby items, or paying the mother in cash.

Regardless of a non-custodial parent’s ability and desire to pay, serious consequences can result from not financially supporting the children as required by the courts, states the website of the Attorney General of Texas. These may include:

  • Wage withholding to collect current and past-due payments
  • Liens against personal property
  • Suspension of driver’s licenses and professional licenses
  • Interception of tax refunds and other bonus income
  • The lawsuit filed against the delinquent parent
  • In some cases, a parent who does not pay child support may risk being arrested.

Non-custodial and custodial parents have rights and options

Many non-custodial parents want to do what is right but may feel at a loss as to how to achieve their obligations, states the National Conference of State Legislatures. For example, low-income parents may not realize that they might be able to request a modification hearing to set their child's support at a level they can better afford based on their income.

If you are a struggling single parent who is having difficulty supporting your children, you may have options available to you that can help you avoid further legal trouble. It may be in your best interests to contact an experienced family law attorney, who can advise you of your rights regarding modifications, child support enforcement and other issues.