Hello, my name is Chloe Chartier and I am a family law attorney with Bailey & Galyen.
Are you a noncustodial parent with a child support obligation struggling to make ends meet after losing your job because of the COVID pandemic? Are you worried about losing access to your children because of past-due child support? Are you wondering if there’s any way to get a reprieve from child support payments until you can get back on your feet?
First things first—your right to visitation with your children is not tied to whether or not you are current with your child support. You cannot be denied the right to see your kids if you get behind in your payments and a court will not terminate or suspend visitation for failure to pay.
That’s the good news—the reality is that child support is a legal obligation, one that won’t be waived or changed by the pandemic. Furthermore, while you can file a motion with the court to modify your obligation, it’s extremely difficult to succeed with such a request. As a general rule, the court will only modify the amount of a child support obligation if there’s evidence that your loss of employment or reduction in income is permanent.
That being said, the Texas Attorney General’s office (the agency that enforces child support obligations in Texas) and the courts have some discretion with respect to the consequences of falling behind in or failing to pay child support. If you show them that you are earnestly and actively looking for a new job, and if you pay what you can, you can typically work out a payment plan to make up the arrearage, once you return to work.
If you have any questions or concerns about child support or any other family law matter, call us today.