There are times when a parent may be entitled to collect child support for a child, but still would choose not to do so. Here is a list of the statements that we usually hear:
- “I don’t want any child support because my ex is dangerous or a bad influence, and I don’t want him around my child. S/he probably won’t visit if we don’t ask for child support.”
- “I can make it on my own; we don’t need his/her money.”
- “I don’t want to have to deal with my ex.”
- “My ex doesn’t have any money anyway, so why waste the time and legal fees?”
- “My ex is unemployed, or self-employed, and we’ll have to chase him/her for the money, so let’s just save the effort.”
Texas law requires that both parents of a child support that child. Judges are required under Texas law to consider “best interests of the child.”, so it is unlikely that a judge will allow a parent to get away with no child support, even if all the parties agree.
Even if you are able to adequately support your child now, the court will consider the future needs of the child. The reasoning is this: Even if you don’t want that money, your child can benefit now or later.
It is best to try to remove your personal feelings from child support decisions. Try to look at it as a “business decision”, not as a sign of weakness or a punishment to either party. Your attorney can assist you in deciding what is reasonable.
If your ex is uncooperative and is unemployed, self-employed, or disabled, it may indeed be more difficult to determine income or collect child support and you’ll need to decide what you are willing to do in order to tackle the problem.
If you are able to support your child on your own, one option is to wait until later to pursue unpaid child support, especially if you have legitimate fears about bringing about contact between your child and your ex. When your child is older, your ex may have changed, and may have the desire to be a stable and involved parent. (But understand that you are also taking a risk that your ex may be in worse financial or physical shape later on, making it difficult to get the full amount of support that is owed). If you choose to wait, be sure to save all of your documentation and consult with a child support attorney or Texas attorney general’s office far in advance of the time that your child turns 18 and graduates from high school.