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Enforcing a Child Support Order

Posted on in Child Support

Texas child support attorney, Texas child support lawsIn Texas, the Office of the Texas Attorney General is charged with enforcing the collection of child support. However, Texas courts also have broad discretion to enforce child support awards, so if your ex-spouse is behind on child support, it is crucial to speak with an experienced complex child custody attorney who can explain the process of filing a motion with the court.

Filing a Motion

To begin the process of enforcing a child support order, the requesting parent, also known as the movant, must file a Motion to Enforce with the court that issued the initial child support order. The motion should contain certain information, including:

  • An identification of the provision in the original child support order that was violated;
  • An explanation of how the other spouse failed to comply with the order;
  • A statement of the relief requested;
  • The amount of support ordered by the court;
  • The amount of child support that has actually been paid;
  • The amount of support that is past due;
  • A copy of the original child support order;
  • A copy of any modifications to the child support order;
  • A record of all payments made by the other parent; and
  • The movant’s signature.

Once the motion is completed, it must be filed with the court and then served, along with a summons, to the other party. The court will then set a hearing date.

Potential Remedies

At this time, the movant can request a number of different remedies, including that:

  • The other parent pay the debt in accordance with a court-approved plan; or
  • The other parent participate in court-approved work activities.

A court also has the option of attaching a child support lien to the respondent’s property, which could include:

  • A bank account;
  • A retirement account;
  • The proceeds of an insurance policy;
  • Real estate; and
  • Vehicles.

Finally, the court can enforce a child support order by:

  • Suspending the delinquent parent’s driver’s license or professional license;
  • Intercepting federal income tax returns;
  • Requiring the parent’s employer to deduct child support directly from his or her paychecks; and
  • Sentencing the delinquent parent to jail.

Affirmative Defenses to a Motion for Enforcement of Child Support

A person who is accused of a failure to pay child support can raise a series of affirmative defenses, including that:

  • The other parent voluntarily gave him or her possession and control of the child for a time period longer than court-ordered visitation;
  • He or she lacks the ability to provide support in the amount ordered;
  • He or she does not have access to property that could be sold or mortgaged to raise funds;
  • He or she attempted to borrow the necessary funds, but was unsuccessful; and
  • He or she did not know of any source from which to borrow money.

If successful in establishing one of these defenses, a respondent can avoid penalties and even be reimbursed by the other parent.

Contact Us Today to Speak with a Dedicated Complex Divorce Attorney

If your ex-spouse is failing to provide child support or is accusing you of a failure to pay, please contact Powers and Kerr, PLLC to schedule an initial consultation. Our passionate Williamson County family law attorneys are eager to assist you today.



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