Texas parents who find they cannot pay child support may be able to seek a modification through the court system. Failing to pay child support is a serious problem, and in 2015, just 60% of child support that was supposed to be paid was received. However, this does not always happen because a parent is unwilling to pay. In some cases, a parent may be unable to do so.

This was the case for one mother who moved out of state and was charged the maximum amount by the court without considering the fact that she had three other children at home and one in college. Because she was disabled, she had no income and could not make the payments.

Parents who are in this situation can file a formal motion to request a modification. Examples of reasons that the court may consider in modifying child support include unemployment, income changes, medical costs or changes in the child’s expenses. It is important to do this through the legal system because it offers protection to both parents. Even if parents reach a verbal agreement, making the modification official ensures that if there is a record of the change in cases there is a dispute later.

Parents may want to avoid procrastinating on requesting a modification. They are generally not retroactive, meaning that a parent will still be required to make up for any unpaid child support even if the modification is approved. If a parent is struggling to collect child support and the other parent is uncooperative, there might also be legal remedies. The child support office may be able to help in collecting the support through wage garnishment or other means. However, even if a parent does not pay child support, the custodial parent is generally not allowed to deny visitation.