Parents in Texas who are divorced must generally help provide for their children financially. This is true regardless of the relationship that they have with the child's other parent. While some feel that paying child support is akin to paying a ransom, the goal is to make sure that the child has sufficient resources to grow into a productive adult. There are many misconceptions about the system that could be fueling someone's beliefs about paying child support.
Generally speaking, child support payments are based on how much money a parent makes. However, if a parent cannot be found, an income may be imputed to determine a support payment. If a parent cannot afford to make that payment, it may be possible to seek a modification of the original support order. Assuming that the request is made in a timely manner, the issue can generally be resolved in a manner that is satisfactory to all parties.
It is also important to understand that a parent is not required to provide more than what a court orders. In the event that an individual voluntarily gives a child or custodial parent more money or other assets, there is generally no way to get the amount back by force. Therefore, it is important that parents view these gestures as nothing more than a way to help their children.
If parents fail to make child support payments in a timely manner, they could face a variety of penalties. These penalties may include jail time or fees added to the original balance that they owe. Once a support order is made, payments generally won't be modified retroactively. However, an attorney may help a parent reduce future payments to make them easier to make in a timely manner.