Refusing to Pay Child Support Comes with Serious Consequences
If you and your child’s other parent are not married or living together and you do not have custody of your child, you are legally obligated to make child support payments. The amount of child support that you must pay will be set by the court, and you have a legal obligation to make these payments on time and in full. Failing or refusing to pay a child support obligation has serious consequences. If you are refusing to pay your child support, or if your ex is refusing to pay child support, here is what you should know:
Who Enforces a Child Support Order?
Once a child support order has been issued by the court, the order must be followed. Any deviations from the order, such as the failure to make a payment, make a payment on time, or make a payment in full can result in enforcement actions from the Texas Office of the Attorney General. The Office of the Attorney General maintains the right to perform myriad enforcement actions, including:
- License suspension. A party who fails to make a child support obligation may be penalized by the suspension of their driver’s license. In addition to a driver’s license suspension, there are over 60 different licensing agencies that work in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General and can suspend a license, including hunting licenses, professional licenses, and more.
- Wage garnishment. Another thing that the state can do if a party defaults on a child support obligation is to garnish the individual’s wages. Indeed, the employer of the party in default can be ordered to withhold wages, turning them over to the state for child support payment purposes instead.
- Liens can be placed on a variety of property types in order to enforce a child support order, including bank accounts, real estate, vehicles, insurance settlements, and more.
- Credit reporting. Failing to pay your child support obligation can hurt your credit score, too. The state maintains the right to turn your name and details of the child support debt over to a credit reporting agency.
- Passport suspension. If a parent is not making their child support payments, the state can prevent the parent from obtaining a new passport, or from renewing a current passport.
- In the most serious of cases, and typically when other enforcement actions fail, an individual could be held in civil or criminal contempt. If the latter, the individual may be arrested and forced to serve jail time for their failure to make child support payments.
An Experienced Attorney Can Help
If you are behind on your child support payments, or if you are a parent who has not received the child support payments that you are legally owed, working with a skilled Texas child support and family law attorney is a must. Our attorney at the office of John Powell III, P.C. will guide you through your options and help you to understand the law and how to protect your interests. Schedule a consultation today by calling our office directly (832) 850-6095.