Illinois football fans will likely be familiar with the name Terrell Owens, but they may not know that he recently avoided spending time in jail for unpaid child support. The former professional football player is obligated by the terms of his child support agreement to pay $5,000 in monthly payments. This is not the first time Owens has not punctually paid his child support; there have been several instances in which he was on the brink of facing court action before agreeing to pay. However, in many of these times, he would return to missing payments shortly thereafter.
In addition to the issue of missing payments is the issue of how much should be paid. Because Owens is no longer receiving the salary of a professional football player, he has suggested lowering the payments he is required to make. Lawyers for the mother have indicated that this is a possibility that she is willing to discuss. They also make note that the mother would like for Owens to have a more active relationship with his daughter.
In situations such as these, how to proceed can be problematic. Concerning the amount of money to be paid in child support, the earning power of the parent is often considered to be the most crucial factor in the decision-making process; meeting the financial needs of the child is the focus. In the event that one parent loses a source of income or has a significant decrease in income, the amount of the child support payments can be lowered to reflect the change in income.
Yet as the difficulties in this case show, sometimes the legal problems do not stop with a simple determination of how much is to be paid. In situations where a person is regularly late with child support payments, legal enforcement action is likely to follow.
Source: The Washington Post, "Former NFL player Terrell Owens pay child support owed to mother of his daughter," July 19, 2012