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Establishing paternity is key to reducing child support arrears

The numbers of child support back payments throughout the country and here in Texas is staggering. According to the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, there were 15,588,775 child support cases nationally in 2013 which were considered still open. Typically, open cases are those in which one parent is not paying his or her fair share of child support. Perhaps even more shocking is that during that same year states needed to intervene on behalf of nearly 17,000,000 children in order to get some form of support.

In many child support cases the child's father is the one who owes support. When states decide to go after a parent to collect support one of the first steps is to establish the child's paternity. Once paternity has been confirmed states can use their legal powers to compel parents to pay using a variety of methods including wage garnishments, intercepting tax returns and even jail.

States have about a 60 percent success rate when it comes to collecting child support payments. In 2013, states throughout the nation distributed over $26 billion in child support. Children here in Texas received a little over $3.5 million of that amount. Current estimates show that Texas parents owe somewhere near $11 billion in child support back payments.

Establishing paternity is crucial. This is regardless of whether you are a father who wants to be involved in the child's life or a mother seeking some help raising her child. Your Texas family law attorney can assist you with pursuing a paternity claim or defending against one.

Whichever course of action you choose to take it's important to remember that child support helps children. In fact, it's estimated that child support payments made to single mothers make up somewhere near 39 percent of their average household incomes. As far as reducing poverty, it's estimated that child support payments made to single mothers have the effect of cutting the poverty rate of single moms by 25 percent.

Source: Valley Morning Star, "Child support payments make big difference" Bill Reagan, Mar. 13, 2015

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