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Jackpot winnings impact father's child support obligations

A recent winner of the $338 million New Jersey Powerball jackpot could be facing arrest. The man is not accused of fraudulently winning his millions, but rather he has $29,000 in unpaid child support to answer for. The man has five children, but appears to have a significant amount of missed payments dating back to 2009. A local Sheriff reports that before winnings are released, the state Lottery Division generally seeks to rectify issues of this matter.

In Texas, child support payments are calculated as a percentage of the income of a noncustodial parent. These payments are mandatory until the child either turns 18 years old or graduates high school, depending on which event is later. As we have emphasized before, these payments are absolutely critical for the wellbeing of the child, and as such are not optional.

Following a divorce, child support payments work to uphold the best interest of the child in ensuring that they do not have to suffer a significant shift in financial support. Unfortunately, many parents in Texas struggle because a noncustodial parent fails to pay child support. There are a variety of enforcement techniques that the courts will use to collect these payments.

Accordingly, parents that evade child support, like this Powerball winner, can be arrested. Additionally, while modifications are often discussed in the context of reducing child support obligations for noncustodial parents, the modification can go the other way as well. If there is a significant increase in the income of the noncustodial parent, like the rare instances of winning a jackpot, increased child support payments could be ordered if the custodial parent seeks a family law attorney's assistance in pursuing a court-ordered modification.

Attempting to obtain a modification in either direction regarding child support payments is nearly impossible without the assistance of an experienced legal attorney.

Source: KTSP, "NJ's Powerball Winner Owes $29K in Child Support," Cassie Hart, March 28, 2013

  • Our firm has experience handling matters of this nature in Houston. For more information, please refer to our page on divorce modifications.

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