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460,000 Texas parents behind on child support

Child support enforcement is a serious issue in Texas, as parents throughout the state depend on those payments for their children's well-being. The Texas Family Code says that a non-custodial parent should pay 20 percent of his or her income for a single child, with the payments going up 5 percent for each additional child.

Right now, though, of the roughly one million Texas parents who are supposed to pay child support, about 460,000 are behind on one or more payments.

Here are some other key statistics:

  • 60 percent of children who live with a single parent have endured long-term poverty.
  • Child support makes up almost 40 percent of the household incomes of single mothers with low incomes.
  • Child support payments result in a poverty-rate reduction of 25 percent.

What custodial parents should keep in mind is that there are legal paths for enforcing a child support order. For example, a court can have child support payments taken out of the paying parent's paycheck. To help ensure that the best possible judgment is made in these cases, parents would be wise to get some legal support.

Likewise, a court can order a child custody modification, which also requires legal action on the part of the parents. Sometimes a paying parent loses his or her job, or maybe the child changes residences and begins living with the parent ordered to pay child support. In each of these cases, the paying parent could seek a child support modification.

If Texans would like to learn more about child support and other aspects of family law, our Collin County child support page is a great resource.

Source: Valley Morning Star, "Child support has major impact on poverty," Bill Reagan, May 10, 2013

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