Child Protective Services (CPS) has taken your child and placed them in foster care. This could be due to imprisonment or the serious medical issues of a parent. You don’t even get to see your child. Continuing to pay child support can place a heavy burden on one or both parents. Can you stop paying child support in this case?
The answer is no. You can be required to continue making your child support payments even if your child is in foster care but your payments will be directed to the state.
Why You Have To Pay Child Support For A Child In Foster Care
State laws recognize that biological parents have the obligation to provide for the child. In typical divorce cases, the court would require the non-custodial parent to pay child support to the custodial parent. This includes payment for any medical and dental costs not covered by insurance.
Just because your children are in foster care does not mean you can avoid your obligations. You can still be required to pay support to the state. This is to reduce the burden of using taxpayer money to fund the costs of supporting children in foster care.
You must pay the amount stated in your child support orders for as long as the child remains in foster care. Social services may only return the child to you when it deems you fit to support the child. You may have to meet conditions such as seeking medical treatment. Alternatively, you may also need to show that you can be responsible for your children. Alternatively, your children may be adopted by other families. Your child support obligations also cease once your children reach the age of majority.
Reducing or Removing Child Support Payments
In some cases, you may be able to ask to reduce your monthly child support paid to the state while your child is in foster care. If you need to spend money to improve the living environment for the child’s benefit, you may have a case to ask for a reduction.
The other way to remove child support obligations is to have the children returned to you. You can also obtain placement of the child if the child was originally under the physical custody of the other parent. The father or mother would then have the obligation to pay you child support under court orders to provide for the needs of the child.
Normally, a state court judge can calculate child support based on the presumption that a parent can earn minimum wage for a 40-hour workweek if they are not working. If the parent is underemployed or intentionally unemployed, the judge may determine the amount based on the parent’s earning potential. Note that the Texas Family Code states that these conditions do not apply if the parent is in prison for more than 90 days.
Consequences of Not Following A Child Support Order
If you have been ordered to pay child support, but do not meet your child support obligation, there can be severe consequences. The other person can ask state child support services to undertake child support enforcement actions that include license suspensions and salary withholding. You may also face criminal charges in court. Enforcement agencies can file a lien against your property. Your federal income tax refund can be withheld and directed towards child support. Enforcement actions apply even if you move out of state under federal law.
Contact Us For A No-Cost Review
Many families with children in foster care struggle with making their child support obligations. Get more information about your legal options to reduce your obligations while you work to get your children back.
Our family law experts at Sean Lynch Law with decades of experience can help. If you have any questions, contact us for a no-cost review.