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Texas divorce: Unpaid child support reaching $11 billion

One of the side effects of the Great Recession is that more and more people are struggling just to get by month to month. Many of those who are struggling are either paying or relying on child support. The assumption is that when a Texas couple gets a divorce, one family is financially split into two. In today's economy, it may feel as if one family is just being split in half.

When the non-custodial parent is hit with hard times, the ability to pay child support diminishes. The unfortunate consequence of this is that the custodial parent that relies on that support payment to provide for the children may not have enough to do so. Most parents want to make sure to take care of their children's needs. When the parents are unable to readily meet their children's needs, it may become necessary to consider what legal options are available to address the issues.

According to the Texas attorney general's office, there is upwards of $11 billion in unpaid child support across the state. Of the nearly one million parents who are obligated to pay child support, almost half of them were at least one month in arrears in 2011. The attorney general's office, which is responsible for collecting unpaid child support, has seen a marked increase in collection needs.

After a divorce or separation, should a parent subject to a child support order be unable to meet the financial obligation, Texas law permits an application for a downward modification when there has been a substantial change in circumstances. Alternatively, the parents may be able to come to an agreement that would benefit the whole family. In either circumstance, the right legal advice and support could go a long ways toward ensuring that a fair and binding settlement is achieved or assist in convincing a court that a modification of an existing child support order is warranted under the circumstances.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, "Report: Unpaid child support in Texas nearly $11B," Oct. 1, 2012

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