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If you are unemployed or laid off and can’t pay child support, you have options.
What you should know
Here is what you should know if you are unemployed and can’t pay child support. Even with a worldwide pandemic and current unemployment, your court orders are still in effect. And will stay that way until they are completed, or a change is requested and granted.
But the good news is this: if you need to ask for a modification of your child support orders, you can do so.
One option that you have is to ask that your case be reviewed by the OAG (Office of the Texas Attorney General). This is something that you can request on your own. Each case will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to see if a reduction in child support is warranted.
Another option is to hire an attorney of your own to file for a modification of the child support order. You may prefer to do this, rather than handling it yourself, if you are able to afford to do so.
Other Issues Besides Child Support
While reviewing your order, you may see other things in your order that need to be modified. Maybe visitation is no longer working for everyone. Custody may have changed. Someone may have moved out of the area. The medical or educational needs of the child may have changed since the order was last written. The office of the OAG may answer questions for you about visitation or access to your child, but they will not represent you in these matters. For these issues, you will need to hire a private attorney if you need to take your case to court. These changes can be dealt with by your attorney at the same time you are requesting a reduction in child support.
What if you already had a “back child support” order?
If you are already paying on arrears, those payments may be able to be reduced temporarily, with the help of the OAG, or your private attorney.
Be careful with this…
A word of caution, if you are not able to pay and make “informal” arrangements with your ex, be sure to document everything between you. Know that simply handing your ex cash for child support will not be evidence that you paid and it will not prevent misunderstandings, disagreements or memory lapses in the future. A child support attorney can help you in choose your options, based on your individual situation. She can guide you by telling you how to prove your payments and agreements with your ex.
Unemployment and Stimulus Benefits
If you are getting unemployment or a stimulus check be aware that child support can be withheld. In some cases, a federal income tax refund may be seized to satisfy child support obligations.
Do yourself a favor, don’t wait
If you are having trouble paying your child support, act immediately, do not wait. The longer you wait, the more you will get in arrears. An enforcement action can be filed against you. Then you will have the expense and stress of a lawsuit on your hands. The last thing you need now is additional stress.
How we are qualified to help you
Our firm has been helping individuals and families with child support for over thirty six years. We have the experience, knowledge, and compassion to help you sort through your options, and understand the legal process.
Free consult through June 30, 2020
Because of Covid-19, we are offering a free consult by telephone or video conference with through June 30, 2020. Our child support attorney, Siomara Ramirez Pitre is fluent in English and Spanish.