Times are tough for many Texas residents, and none more so than divorced couples who have to cope with the expenses of two separate households, often with no more money than what they had when they were married. Sometimes, noncustodial parents struggle to keep child support payments current. For one parent to provide proper care for a child without financial assistance from the other parent can prove to be extremely challenging.
Although some parents plead poverty and hide their incomes to avoid their child support responsibilities, most parents want what is best for their children. If you are a noncustodial parent in Texas who finds it difficult to make child support payments on time every month, there are steps to take that might make it easier.
Strategies that may help you
If your current plan is too complicated, it may ultimately prove to be unachievable. The most effective strategies are typically those that start with the basics below:
- Budget — It is important to see your child support obligations in the same light as other monthly necessities such as rent, utilities and food. Including these payments in your budget may prevent you from spending this money on something else, or even forgetting to pay. It does not take long for unpaid child support to become overwhelming.
- Prompt payments — When you treat your child support obligation in the same manner as your rent, it can be one of the first payments you make at the start of every new month. The payment method you choose could also help to make sure the money goes where it should at the appropriate time. Arranging an automatic transfer may be the most efficient method to use.
- Record your payments — If you pay by electronic transfer or by setting up a recurring payment on your personal banking account, you will have a proper record of all your payments. This is essential if any conflict arises and your ex accuses you of neglecting your obligations to support your child.
- Seek modifications when necessary — Sometimes, circumstances make it impossible to pay the court-ordered amount of child support. You may have unanticipated medical expenses after a car accident or a serious illness, or you might have lost your job. Although you are entitled to request the court to modify the amount, it may be best to discuss it with the other parent first. If the two of you can come to an agreement, it might be easier gain the court’s approval.
Something to avoid at all times is verbal agreements related to child support — regardless of whether it is a modified amount or an agreement to pay later. Not getting an amended court order could come back to bite you when you least expect it. The most logical way to handle an application for a child support modification might be with the advice and guidance of an experienced family law attorney. A lawyer can assist with negotiations with the other parent, and will advocate for you in the court when seeking a more justifiable amount.