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What happens in a divorce when one parent is disabled?

When most Texas parents think of paying a child support obligation, they think about doing so from their work income. What happens if the noncustodial parent is disabled and unable to work? How is child support dealt with in a divorce under those circumstances?

Child support orders in these situations rely on a number of factors relating to the disability and from where the disabled parent receives benefits. If the disability is expected to be temporary, the court may issue an order for child support based on temporary disability payments, which can later be modified once the parent returns to work. More than likely, any payments received by the custodial parent under these circumstances will be less than would be ordered if the disabled parent was working. This needs to be taken into account when engaging in post-divorce budgeting.

In many cases, disability benefits may be garnished to ensure payment of child support. However, if the disability is permanent, the noncustodial parent may be receiving benefits from the Social Security Administration through either Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). These benefits are not subject to garnishment unless the recipient is behind on child support payments. In those circumstances, a garnishment can be instituted.

Whether you are the disabled parent faced with making child support payments or the custodial parent hoping to receive them, this issue may require special attention in your Texas divorce. Depending on the circumstances, you may know ahead of time that a modification will be necessary once the paying parent returns to full health and work. In any case, it would be beneficial to understand the rights and obligations of each parent when it comes to financially supporting the children.

Source:, "Disability and Child Support", Debrina Washington, Accessed on Sept. 1, 2017

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Vernier & Associates, PLLC Vernier & Associates, PLLC

Vernier & Associates, PLLC
2441 High Timbers Drive Suite 110
The Woodlands, TX 77380

Phone: 281-882-3271
Fax: 832-585-0955

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