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The ability to pay does not equal the ability to parent

Monday, May 21, 2018

When parents are considering divorce, there may be a lot of talk about child support. However, that conversation is typically about money. While financial provision is essential for a child, there are other ways in which parents support their children.

You may be among those parents, typically fathers, who feel that they have more to offer their children than a monthly check. As much as you may be willing to provide financially for your children, a financial hardship does not make you a bad parent. Nevertheless, the Texas family court system may not see it that way.

The value of a father

More and more studies are showing the importance of having both parents participating equally in the upbringing of a child, even after the parents divorce. In past generations, this typically meant the father handling the financial end of raising children and the mother handling everything else. Fathers may have won some hours of visitation, but in general, they watched as their children grew more distant from them. You may have experienced this yourself if your parents divorced when you were a child.

Fortunately, the pendulum is swinging the other way. You may have a much deeper connection to your children than your father or grandfather had, and courts are granting divorced fathers a more active role in raising their children. Still, when it comes to child support, you may be shocked at what the court orders you to pay each month.

Penalties for nonpayment

Some fathers' rights advocates are fighting to change the way society — and courts — see fathers. Often, fathers are kept from their children because they cannot manage the child support order, despite being excellent dads. If you fail to meet your child support obligations, the penalties are harsh, including:

  • Garnishment of your paycheck
  • Interception of your tax refunds
  • Suspension of your professional license
  • Jail

While some fathers refuse to pay for the support of their children, you and millions others may simply struggle to find the money. In fact, 80 percent of those who owe child support earn salaries of $20,000 or less. You may agree with many who feel that punishment in these circumstances is not always appropriate.

If you know someone who has tried to request a modification of child support obligations, you know how difficult it can be. The best option for the present time may be to seek a support agreement that is appropriate from the beginning. You know you have much to offer your children, and a Texas family law professional can work to secure a fair custody and support agreement.

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