Understanding child support enforcement in Texas
A number of Texas parents are delinquent on their child support and the state has ways of enforcing payments.
When parents decide to file for divorce, children involved in the separation are often forced to go through a financial and emotional transition. In order to minimize the dramatic financial changes that can take place during this hard time, Texas courts order the non-custodial parent to pay child support to the parent who maintains primary custody of the child. Child support can help parents pay for essentials, maintain solid ground and ultimately increase the child’s quality of life. Unfortunately, not all parents who are ordered to pay child support follow through with the obligation, and some children are left to struggle without the financial support they need and deserve.
Texas has a surprisingly high rate of parents who fail to pay child support. The Houston Chronicle reported that the state had more than 460,000 parents who were delinquent in their payments, which totaled nearly $11 million.
In an attempt to collect unpaid child support and enforce current child support orders, the Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Division uses various methods. The negligent parent may be subject to the following:
- Suspended professional and/or driver’s license
- Payments deducted from their paychecks
- Intercepted funds from lottery winnings, income tax refunds and other sources of income
- Liens put against their property
Parents who owe child support may face jail time as well. Past due child support payments also accrue interest until the balance is paid in full.
Parents who owe a substantial amount of money in back child support may be put on the state’s Child Support Evaders list. These parents must owe a minimum of $5,000 in past due child support, and have a warrant out for their arrest. Furthermore, they must miss at least six months of payments and are avoiding apprehension. These parents cannot be involved in any pending bankruptcy cases. In order to get on the list, the custodial parent must submit a confidentiality form allowing the state to use the parent’s personal information, along with a photograph of the negligent parent.
Reclaiming child support payments in Texas
Whether you are currently setting up child support payments or wish to seek past due child support payments, talking to a family attorney may be helpful. With a strong knowledge of Texas law an attorney may listen to your case, explore your options and defend your legal rights. Since child support is such a critical part of a child’s life, it is important to ensure your child receives what he or she is entitled to.