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What Are the Consequences of Failing to Pay Child Support in Texas?

Posted on in Child Support

TX child support lawyerProviding financially for a child’s basic needs is not only an important responsibility for parents, it is a legal obligation. When parents are divorced or unmarried, this obligation must be formalized in a child support order that typically requires one parent to make regular payments to the other. When the paying parent fails to fulfill their obligation, they may face a variety of serious consequences.

Penalties for Late Child Support Payments

In Texas, when a parent fails or refuses to make a scheduled child support payment, an enforcement action may be initiated by the receiving parent or the Texas Office of the Attorney General. Depending on the circumstances, the paying parent could face one or more of the following consequences:

  • An order to pay arrearages and interest - A parent who is delinquent on child support payments remains responsible for the full amount of past-due payments. Child support arrearages also accrue interest until they are repaid.
  • An order to pay the other parent’s attorney fees - When the receiving parent brings a child support enforcement action before the court, the delinquent parent can be ordered to pay the petitioning parent’s attorney fees and court costs.
  • Property liens - A lien may be placed on a delinquent parent’s real estate property, bank or retirement account, or other assets in order to enforce payment.
  • Credit consequences - Delinquent child support payments are reported to credit agencies, which may affect the parent’s ability to qualify for loans or credit cards. Unlike many other types of debt, child support arrearages cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.
  • License suspension - A delinquent parent may have their driver’s license suspended while child support is in arrears. Professional and recreational licenses may also be suspended.
  • Denied passport and/or vehicle registration - In some cases, child support delinquency can prevent a parent from applying for a new or renewed passport, or a renewed vehicle registration.
  • Contempt of court charges - A delinquent parent can be charged with civil or criminal contempt of court, depending on the circumstances, which may result in fines and even jail time.

Understanding Your Legal Options

If you are the receiving parent, an attorney can help you understand your options for recovering late child support payments, including by petitioning the court for enforcement if necessary. If you are the paying parent and you are concerned about your ability to fulfill your obligations, you may be able to work with an attorney to petition for a modification of the child support order to preemptively avoid an enforcement action. If you are subject to enforcement, an attorney may be able to help you resolve the situation before costly penalties are assessed.

Contact a Texas Child Support Attorney

At Powers and Kerr, PLLC, we know that child support can be a major source of conflict between parents, and that late payments can cause problems for the parents and child. We represent paying and receiving parents in child support enforcement and modification cases to help you protect your interests. Contact us today at 512-610-6199 to schedule a consultation with an Austin, TX child support enforcement lawyer.

 

Sources:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/FA/htm/FA.157.htm

https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/child-support/child-support-enforcement/how-we-enforce

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