In some ways, the financial rise and fall of professional athletes, especially as it relates to something like their ability to pay child support, is not all that different from more "normal" people.

Excepting for the stark contrast that word "normal" invokes in comparison to their stories. High-profile athletes who get paid for a living sometimes hit hard times in the same manner that other people do -- they lose jobs, make bad investments, get a bad divorce outcome and so forth. That can materially affect their ability to continue making payments in an amount that was once easy for them.

It is the sheer amounts involved, though, and the staggering degree to which money was earned and lost over the course of and following their careers, that is starling. It is the magnitude expressed, which is sometimes so extreme that is ceases to make sense to many people.

We chronicled, for example, the story of ex-basketball player Antoine Walker in a recent blog post. Walker is reputed to have made more than $110 million during his career, not counting endorsements, yet he is now in bankruptcy, possibly $9 million in the red, and has not made child support payments in more than two years.

Terrell Owens -- who we have also discussed in prior posts -- is another case in point. Owens was arguably a more potent and high-profile force in his sport (professional football) than Walker was in his. Owens, too, though, is now in dire straits financially, being out of football, without an income, and apparently having saved nothing.

Until recently, Owens owed between $5,000 and $20,000 per month for each of four children he fathered with four different women. He was able to get that reduced, although, with the child support order being sealed, the specifics on what he now owes are not publicly known.

A point that surfaces from the cases of these ex-athletes is that child support payments have the potential to be modified in any case or context, notwithstanding the magnitude of the money amounts involved. An experienced child support attorney can answer questions and provide information concerning any aspect of child support payment or receipt.

Source: Examiner, "Terrell Owens wins big in child support case" Kelly Cozzone, Feb. 6, 2012