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NFL player ordered to pay back child support

Around this time last year, there was some speculation among Denver Broncos fans that six-time Pro Bowler Terrell Owens might be signed up to help the team's injury-plagued offense. Nothing ever came of it, and Owens is now retired. But Denver readers might be interested in a more recent news story involving Owens. In July of this year, he was ordered to appear in an Atlanta courtroom to face allegations that he had fallen behind in his child support obligations.

The former star wide receiver showed up as ordered and avoided arrest by handing over about $20,000 he owed for the support of his 7-year-old daughter. He had been ordered to appear after failing to show up at a hearing a week earlier.

Owens is obligated to pay about $5,000 per month for his daughter. Recently he has claimed to be struggling financially, due to some bad investments and the fact that he is no longer playing professional football for any team. And to make matters worse for Owens, in March of this year he was confronted on the "Dr. Phil" TV show by three women with whom he has allegedly fathered children.

Colorado courts follow presumptive child support guidelines in establishing a parent's obligations. The guidelines are based on the gross monthly income of each parent. The courts also take into account what each parent is already paying on behalf of the child for obligations like day care and health care expenses. The number of overnight visits with each parent is also a factor.

Once a support obligation is in place, failure to pay child support can have serious legal consequences for a parent. When a parent can show his or her financial circumstances have changed, they can petition the court for a modification of their support obligation. By requesting a modification, the court will issue a support order that is in accordance with what the parent can realistically afford to pay under the circumstances.

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Terrell Owens pays child support, avoids jail time," Christian Boone, July 19, 2012

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