Texas has zero tolerance for fathers (or mothers) who deliberately evade child support payments. The laws are strict, and the punishments for failing to pay can be harsh.
Despite this, over 400,000 parents neglect to make child support payments in Texas each year.
If the father is not paying child support payments on time or owes back pay, you’re not alone — you have rights, and there are steps you can take to enforce them.
Here, we’ll cover them all.
Child Support Laws in Texas
Texas courts can order either one of the parents or both to pay child support. However, in most instances, the non-custodial parent, the one who spends the least amount of time with the child, will be ordered to pay support.
Child support is calculated at 20 percent of the net income of the non-custodial parent. For each additional child, another 5 percent is added on. Payments usually continue for each child until they reach the age of 18, but they can be shorter or longer, depending on certain circumstances.
A medically dependent child, for example, or one who is mentally disabled, may require child support past the age of 18. Or, if a child is adopted by a step-parent, child support payments from the non-custodial birth parent may end.
If the non-custodial parent’s financial circumstances change, such as a promotion or job loss, the payments can be adjusted accordingly. If the parent is injured, disabled, or incarcerated, payments may also be modified.
The bottom line is that there are standards for how child support payments are calculated, but the courts can take your unique circumstances into consideration when making decisions about child support. Once the payments are ordered, your ex is legally obligated to make them on time.
How to Enforce Child Support Payments
If the father or mother of your child is not paying child support or owes back pay, you need to take immediate action. The sooner, the better, so the payments don’t get backed up even further.
Your first step is to contact a child support attorney. Texas takes child support seriously, but the system is backlogged and busy. If you don’t have an attorney speaking on your behalf and moving your case forward, you may lose valuable time and wait that much longer to receive your payments.
The next step is to discuss your options to see if the payments simply need to be amended or adjusted. It’s possible that your ex is genuinely having trouble making their payments. We can help facilitate a rational conversation with the Office of Attorney General and your ex to try and find a solution that suits everyone involved.
If that doesn’t work, we can file an enforcement order with the courts. If that happens, the judge will have two main options. They may find your ex in contempt of court for violating a direct court order and either issue a fine or a warrant for their arrest.
Once an arrest warrant is issued, you may have a third option: the Attorney General of Texas Child Support Evaders program. To qualify for the Child Support Evaders Program, the following criteria must be met. Your ex must:
- Have an arrest warrant issued.
- Owe $5,000 or more in child support.
- Be at least six months behind in payments.
- Be avoiding apprehension by the police.
Penalties for Parents Who Don’t Pay Child Support
The Attorney General has a large arsenal of tools to help collect back payments owed and punish parents who are extremely behind on their payments, including:
- License suspension of over 60 licenses, including drivers, professional, and recreational
- Passport denial
- Liens on property, bank accounts, and retirement plans
- Reporting to the credit bureaus
- Intercepting paychecks, lottery winnings or tax refunds, and
- Civil fines or jail time
In addition, a 6-percent interest charge is added yearly to all unpaid child support payments until the payments are caught up and paid in full.
Get Help Now
If you’re ready to start collecting the child support owed to you, contact our offices for a free consultation today.