If a Texas noncustodial parent becomes disabled, it could affect the ability to keep up with child support payments. However, this does not mean that a court will release the disabled parent from those obligations.
The parent’s income may be reduced either temporarily or permanently depending on the nature of the disability. In this case, the parent might go to court to request a modification of the amount based on changed circumstances. The court will consider what kind of disability the parent has and the parent’s change in income. If a parent stops paying support, the parent’s wages may be garnished. If a parent has disability insurance, a portion of that insurance may be garnished. While Supplemental Security Income cannot be garnished for most debts and taxes, it can be for child support payments.
The parent who receives child support payments may have to adjust to reduced payments while the other parent is disabled. Parents can seek assistance with the child support system from an attorney.
Even if a parent is behind on child support because of disability or for any other reason, the other parent cannot alter the custody and visitation agreement. The office of child support enforcement may be able to help. The court uses the standard of the best interests of the child in making decisions, and barring such extenuating circumstances as abuse, a judge generally tries to encourage a child’s relationship with both parents even if one parent is not paying support. If a parent believes the child’s well-being is in danger because of the actions of the other parent, that parent might be able to return to court to get the custody and visitation agreement changed.