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The consequences of failing to pay child support

Texas parents who have a court order to pay child support should be aware of the serious consequences of failing to pay the support due. A failure to pay is considered violation of a court order, and parents can be put in jail for failing to pay. Some parents are jailed multiple times for not paying child support.

Imposing jail time is usually a last resort after multiple other collection attempts have failed. The court will usually try to collect funds by using wage or bank garnishments. Up to 65 percent of a person's paycheck can be collected in this way. The court may also intercept tax refunds. If these standard collection methods fail, the court can suspend drivers' licenses and other professional licenses as an incentive to pay.

Parents who can afford child support payments and simply refuse to pay may respond to these methods, but collection efforts and punishments can harm already struggling low-income parents who truly cannot afford the ordered child support. Although child support is based primarily off of income level, income does change, and a change in the amount of child support is often slow to catch up to changes in a parent's financial circumstances. When punishments are applied to such parents, their ability to keep or find work is often impeded, and their ability to pay child support diminishes further.

Although the situation may seem bleak for struggling parents, it is important not to ignore child support. The court is often willing to work with parents who can prove, due to real financial reasons, an inability to pay the ordered support. The amounts can often be amended to something the parent can afford, but only if they are proactive in getting the order changed. An attorney may be able to advise a parent on how they can get their order changed and guide them through the legal system.

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Bruce Turner

In addition to his law degree, Bruce Turner has a master's degree in tax law and is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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Bruce Turner with Bennett, Weston LaJone & Turner, P.C.

Attorney Bruce Turner is located in Dallas and represents people and businesses throughout DFW and the Metroplex, including Denton, Carrollton, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Farmers Branch, Irving, Las Colinas, Corinth, Highland Village, The Colony, Plano, Frisco, Allen, McKinney, Mesquite, Grand Prairie, Garland and Grapevine as well as Collin County, Denton County and Dallas County in Texas.

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