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Dads who can't afford child support are not all deadbeats

Fathers who don't pay child support are a serious concern in Texas and around the country. However, a new study suggests that some of those so-called "deadbeat dads" do make an effort to contribute in other ways to the support of their children. This study looked at 367 lower income non-custodial fathers in three different cities to see what efforts they made to support their children and found that most do provide some support to their kids in the form of cash, gifts or other types of in-kind contributions.

Buying gifts for the children directly is a way that many dads who cannot afford to fully comply with the court order show support for their kids, even though courts would not recognize this officially as child support. Many fathers who choose this option do so because the children recognize their efforts more than the children would if the money were given to the mothers directly.

The child support system can have unintended effects on the individuals it was designed to protect. When fathers can't pay child support, it encourages some mothers to withhold access to the child, which can weaken family bonds. Nonpayment of child support can also come with harsh penalties, including jail time, fines and driver's license suspension.

Fathers who are unable to meet their court-ordered child support obligations may wish to speak with a family law attorney. In some cases, it may be advisable to file a motion with the court requesting a modification of the monthly payments. This may be a possibility if the father has undergone an unexpected adverse change in his financial circumstances, such as a job layoff.

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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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