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How do I deal with a default judgment if I'm facing one?

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The first thing to know about a default judgment, if that's something you're facing, is how your case got to that point. It typically involves a defendant who hasn't responded to a summons from a judge or has failed to appear before a court of law when required.

These typically don't happen in family law - in divorce and in child custody cases, both parties will have a vested interest in the case, and they'll know it's important to show up in court to assert their claims. However, in some child support cases, if the parent owing is failing to make payments per the court order, then a default judgment is a mechanism available should that parent refuse to respond to requests to make payments.

The best thing to do in a default judgment situation, especially when it comes to child support enforcement, is to not let it get to that point. If you're a parent in Texas who has lost a job or experienced some other hardship making it difficult to pay child support, it's possible to contact the Office of the Attorney General's Child Support Division and seek to set an alternative plan in motion, to arrange for you to conference with your ex-spouse to modify your decree, or to contact a family lawyer and file a motion for modification to be settled in court.

Should time be of the essence, a family lawyer will most likely be able to provide you a more expedient resolution than the OAG would. The OAG does great work, but they have a great number of cases and limited resources for dealing with those cases. When you're hiring a family lawyer, one of the reasons you're doing so is to have more control over the timeline.

At the Law Office of Lisa Vance, we have the experience and the ability to get your motion for modification on the docket, helping you perhaps to resolve your case sooner than if you were to go the OAG conference route. It's incumbent on the parent owing child support to do so, though - the inability to pay doesn't absolve you of your responsibility to pay, and until a modification is made, the amount required per the decree is what you're legally required to pay.

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