Our firm recently got a client who was distressed about his child support payments. For the sake of maintaining attorney client confidentiality, we will call him Ben.
Ben was done. He was paying about $1,000 a month in child support and he believed his ex was using the money for her own wining and dining on the weekends. While he was working long hours trying to make ends meet, she was enjoying the fruits of his labor.
Ben’s situation is not ordinary. Many fathers today feel that their child support payments are not being used for the expenses of the children, but for the entertainment of their ex.
As Ray Charles once said “Child support, alimony, she’s eating steak, I’m eating baloney.” Child Support, Alimony by Ray Charles – 1990 – Album: Would You Believe.
So back to Ben. How can a father get out of paying child support in Texas? There are multiple ways, and listed below are some of the many the law provides.
Father was Tricked into Thinking he is the Biological Father – Termination of Parental Rights
Suppose a father is present at the birth of a child and genuinely thinks he is the biological father. His name is placed on the child’s birth certificate. He then finds out years later that he is not the biological father and was misled to believe such, he can petition a court to terminate his parent child relationship. As long as the paternity test confirms that this man is not the biological father, a court in Texas will terminate the parent child relationship and strike out all child support obligations, future and past.
Father Requests Termination of his Parental Rights and the Child is Adopted
If the child is adopted by a family and the parent terminates all his rights to being a parent, a court may strike out the child support obligation. Also, if the child is taken by the child protective services and a court determines that the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (essentially CPS) should be deemed as the child’s conservator, the father will be removed from his child support obligations.
The Child Decides to Marry
Let’s say the father is obligated to pay child support for his son/daughter, but the child falls in love and wants to get married. The child will now have a different provider (presumably) and would not need child support. The father can request termination of the support obligation.
The Child Decides to Enlist in the Military
Additionally, let’s say a father is obligated to pay child support but the son/daughter decides to join the military to serve the country. The father can request a removal of the obligation as soon as the first day the child starts active duty.
Child is No Longer Deemed Disabled
Child support is not always based on the age of the child. If a child has a disability, a parent may be obligated to pay the support for the child based on the disability even after the child turns 18. Now let’s suppose the child gets treatment and is no longer medically considered to be disabled. The child would presumably be able to take care of himself/herself now that the child is healthy. The father can request the court to strike out the child support obligations.
Termination of Parental Rights for Any Other Reason
Sometimes the facts are such that a court finds that it is in the best interest of the child that the rights of the parent are terminated permanently. Remember, this is not always a bad thing for the child involved. The “best interest of the child’ is a paramount concern for all family court judges in Texas, and sometimes it is indeed in the best interest of a child to have the parent or parents’ rights terminated. A father will not have to pay any child support if such happens.
In essence, there are many ways to get out of the obligation to pay child support. If you think you will qualify under any of the above reasons, talk to a trusted attorney on this issue. You may be entitled to removal of child support obligations, including the past due child support!
As a side note, Happy Halloween!
The purpose of this blog is to educate people as to different legal ways where a child can be supported by other means than the court ordered child support. This does not suggest in any way that a child should not have the support he/she needs from a parent.