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Texas parents get job help to pay child support

Sometimes a parent who fails to pay child support has a reason for not making payments. Expensive health issues and loss of employment are common problems associated with delinquent child support debt. But nonpayment of child support can have serious consequences, some that extend beyond wage garnishment.

Jail time is possible for support-skipping parents. Family courts in Texas do have options that are geared to keep parents out of jail, on the job and current with payments. One of the alternatives is a program that has had notable success in the Rio Grande Valley called the Non-Custodial Parent Program.

A father in southern Texas was placed in jail for a month after he racked up a child support debt of $27,000. Following his incarceration, a judge ordered the father into the NCP program. The father used the NCP employment services to rebound from his debt.

Even though the unemployed father is still waiting to be hired, he has reduced the support debt he owes by more than half. The father took advantage of the services the NCP program offered -- confidence building, online application submissions and resume improvement -- and now his prospects for getting a job are promising.

NCP programs are available at 17 locations in the state. The employment assistance services specifically target parents with delinquent support problems.

The Rio Grande Valley program helped noncustodial parents pay $10 million in back support over the last seven years.

Custodial and noncustodial parents have shared responsibility for the financial welfare of their children. When circumstances prevent payment of child support, legal modifications can be sought to adjust an agreed-upon or court-ordered support schedule. Options like requesting an alteration in child support or taking part in an NCP program are preferable to jail time.

Source: KVEO, "Workforce solutions helps child support offenders get back on their feet," Erin Murray, Nov. 27, 2012

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