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Factors in failing to pay child support

Texas fathers who regularly pay child support are more likely to spend time with their children than those who have fallen behind. This was the conclusion of a study that appeared in the Journal of Marriage and Family in February 2017. The study was conducted by a professor at Cornell University and a researcher at a nonprofit organization called Child Trends. They looked at children born in nearly 5,000 families from 1998 to 2000 and followed up several times over the next nine years. Their findings were based on how much child support the child was receiving and how much contact the child had with the father at the age of nine.

The study found that how often the father worked and what his mental health and his relationship with the child's mother was like were all factors in how often he paid support and saw the child. Fathers who were behind on support also tended to have less education and were more likely to have other children by other partners.

In addition to seeing their children an average of three fewer days per month, fathers who were behind on support spent less time in daily activities with their children, such as helping with homework, and gave fewer in-kind assistance like clothes. The study found an average balance in excess of $7,000.

Aside from the fact that child support is generally paid to the custodial parent from the noncustodial parent, it is not linked to visitation in that the custodial parent cannot deny access to the other parent. With a legally binding child support agreement in place, custodial parents can turn to their state or local office of child support enforcement if the other parent is not paying support. A support-paying parent who cannot pay because of a change in circumstances may want to meet with an attorney to see how to apply for an order modification.

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