Disputes over child support are a major source of frustration for parents across Texas. Parents who are entitled to receive child support from their former partners but don't receive them often struggle to collect the payments, which can feel like an endless, uphill battle. This battle is often bigger and more complicated when the child's other parent lives in another state.
A mother living in Houston says that her son's father, an NFL rookie wideout playing for the Carolina Panthers, has been making regular payments, but that they're much lower than what he's been ordered to pay to support his toddler. In an effort to get things back on track, she recently filed a petition in the state where the father lives, demanding that he pay the extra thousands of dollars that he owes.
The disparity in payment amounts stems from a court order obliging player Brandon LaFell to pay $4,000 a month. But his agent argues that the order was temporary, and that a Harris County, Texas, judge lowered the monthly payment amount to $1,500 over the summer. Although the latter amount is usually the maximum allowed in Texas for one child, the mother's attorney says the $4,000 was set based on the fact that she's the sole care provider for a child with health problems (which have not been disclosed).
According to court records, LaFell made the $4,000 payments in February and April. Since June he has been paying the smaller monthly amount and said he's fully complying with his child support obligations. The mother's lawyer, meanwhile, has expressed frustration over having to travel to North Carolina to collect what she said is a $23,000 difference between what he's paid so far and what he actually owes.
The mother and attorney are also attempting to involve the man's employer by listing the Carolina Panthers in the petition. They would like to see LaFell's child support balance withheld from his paycheck, but his attorney says the team doesn't have to pay attention to a court order from out of state.
Regardless of who ends up the victor in this case, when any two parents have a family law conflict, it can be much more difficult to sort out if they're living in separate states. Having an attorney who can easily negotiate the states' varying laws and cut through the extra red tape can put parents at ease as they work to settle the matter.
Source: Charlotte Observer, "Houston woman: Carolina Panther owes thousands in child support," Joseph Person, Dec. 12, 2012
- Our firm handles child support and other family law issues for Texas residents. To learn more about our practice, visit our Lewisville child support page.