Unless a child has reached the age of 18 or stops attending high school, the child’s parents are expected to provide child support.
Enforcing the Child Support Order
Child support orders are given by a court to ensure that the best interest of the child is protected even after a divorce. This is even more necessary in a situation where there is a special needs child involved. However, there are situations where the obligor may fail to comply with a court’s child support order.
Consequences – Failing to Pay Child Support
There are a number of methods that can be used to collect unpaid child support and enforce current child support orders. Consequences of not paying child support include:
- A court may order that half of the obligor’s pay to be withheld- amount can be deducted by employers
- The court could suspend the obligor’s driving, professional, fishing and hunting licenses
- State contracts, loans and grants may also be withheld from the obligor
- Lottery winnings and tax refunds of the obligor can be intercepted by the government
- Liens may be placed on the obligor’s property
- The obligor may not be able to acquire a passport if they owe a certain amount in child support
- The court may find you in contempt, which will result in either a fine of $500 or up to 6 months in prison or both
The custodial parent cannot stop the obligor from seeing their child just because the obligor is late with child support payments. The obligee must instead consult an attorney for guidance if the obligor is not complying with the court’s child support orders.
Child Support Modification
If you cannot comply with the court’s child support orders because of circumstances beyond your control, there are provisions in Texas law that can provide relief.
Situations like job loss or other changes in circumstances can make it hard for you to meet your child support obligations. Instead of just deciding to withhold child support, talk to your attorney about a Motion to Modify with the court.
Meanwhile, if you cannot pay the full amount, make a partial payment because that will show that you are at least making an effort.
Locating the Non-Custodial Parent
Sometimes you may have trouble locating the non-custodial parent when that parent is behind in child support payment. The following information can help you trace that parent:
- Social security number and date of birth
- Names of creditors and banks
- The address and name of that spouse’s employer
- Their date of birth and social security number
- The names of the organizations or groups the spouse is a member of
- Names of where that spouse spends their time
Even if you only have a few of the details listed above, it can still help you trace that parent.
Reclaiming Past Due Child Support
It is the court that will determine the amount that the non-custodial parent owes. Past due payments increase in amount the longer the non-custodial parent does not pay.
The non-custodial parent will still be required to pay this amount even if the child has reached the age of 18. Talk to a family law attorney if the non-custodial parent is not paying child support as ordered by the court.