Delinquent child support in Texas nears $11 billion

Many custodial parents in Texas rely on child support to make ends meet, and they often lack the financial resources to adequately provide for their children when these payments are delinquent. While over $3.5 billion was paid in child support to children in Texas in 2013 according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, noncustodial parents in the state still owed almost $11 billion.

Single mothers are particularly hard hit by delinquent child support. These payments make up 39 percent of their household income and raise a quarter of them above the poverty line. Authorities have a number of ways to collect delinquent child support, but figures show that these efforts are unsuccessful 40 percent of the time. While child support payments can be a vital source of income for custodial parents, they do not always place an undue financial strain on parents who are required to pay. In Texas, child support payments can total between 20 and 40 percent of a noncustodial parent’s income depending on the number of children involved.

The burden of collecting delinquent child support falls on the Office of the Texas Attorney General, and the primary enforcement method used by the office is garnishing paychecks. The office also assists noncustodial parents with other family law matters such as establishing paternity and enforcing medical support orders.

Experienced family law attorneys will likely understand how important child support can be for custodial parents, and they may be able to offer assistance when noncustodial parents do not honor their commitments. However, there are situations where a parent finds it impossible to stay current with a support order due to a change in financial circumstances. In such cases, a family law attorney can provide assistance in requesting a modification.