As an attorney who handles child support cases, I am approached constantly by men who have a decree ordering them to pay a certain amount of child support, but claim an unwritten agreement with their ex to pay a lesser amount.
(If ordered to pay child support, women could also fall into this trap, but so far I have been approached by only men.)
These men pay the lesser amount for many years and are then shocked when the Attorney General’s child support division or a private attorney tell them their child support is not paid in full, but they actually owe thousands, tens of thousands, or possibly hundreds of thousands in child support arrears.
I have seen even well educated men with advanced degrees fall into this trap.
The problem is that the side deal, if never turned into a court order, cannot be used as a defense to the child support arrears. The only thing that can modify a court order to pay child support is another court order. You still owe all of the money you were ordered to pay under the original order.
If you owe a large child support arrearage, your bank accounts, retirement plans, and many other assets will be at risk.
Also, do not pay your ex child support directly. Direct payments can be considered a gift and you may not get credit for them at a later time.
It is crucial to pay all the child support ordered through the State Disbursement Unit located at P.O. Box 659791, San Antonio, Texas 78265-9791. Sending all payments to the SDU protects both parties by making a record of all payments.
If you have any questions about child support, or are interested in possibly modifying your child support, please contact the Fox Law Office at (469)322-9238.