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Failing to pay child support and incarceration in Texas

Many people who are ordered to pay child support fall behind or simply fail to make their court ordered payments. Over time, these parents may rack up a significant amount of child support debt. When a person owes back child support, the state may garnish the person's wages, sometimes leaving them with little to live on.

People who owe significant amounts of back child support may also be incarcerated in order to get them to pay. Upon release from jail, they are usually given a short time period in which to pay the back amount owed. Many people are unable to pay the ordered amount within the period. They then enter into a vicious cycle of jail and rising child support debt.

According to the Office of the Attorney General, the maximum amount that can be garnished from a person's wages for child support is 50 percent of their income. This may mean that the person is unable to afford such basic needs as rent, food and other necessities. If they are incarcerated, they may also lose their employment, further compounding the problem.

People who are having trouble affording their court-ordered child support may want to get help from a family law attorney. If they can, they should continue making the court ordered payments and not allow themselves to fall behind. An attorney might be able to help their clients by filing a motion to modify the child support amount that was ordered, especially if their client's financial circumstances have significantly changed. If the modification motion is granted, the person may then obtain some financial relief. People should be aware that they must continue paying the amount currently ordered until and unless the order is modified. Child support modifications are not retroactive, and any amounts that have accrued previously will remain.

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