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Child Support Enforcement Texas: Get What You Are Owed

At the end of your divorce, the judge introduced a divorce decree that covered child support. That should have been all that was needed to ensure your child was properly supported by your ex-spouse.

But if your ex stopped paying or is not paying the full court-ordered amount, you may be facing financial difficulties providing support to your child. What are your options to resolve this child support situation? Let’s review the tools for child support enforcement Texas residents have at their disposal.

1. Contact a Texas Family Law Attorney Immediately

While there are several options for child support enforcement in Texas, nearly all of them involve the legal process. And you shouldn’t participate in the legal process without being represented by an experienced family law lawyer.

If possible, you should contact the same family law attorney you used for your divorce. They are most familiar with your case and will need the least time to get up to speed with current events, which will save you time and money.

However, if they aren’t available, you were not well-represented during your divorce, or your original attorney does not handle enforcement, you should work with a different attorney.

You will especially want to contact an attorney who focuses on the enforcement of orders. At Parker & Aguilar, we help clients across the Southeast Texas region enforce the original court order to receive the child support they are owed.

2. Remember that Child Support Is Legally Binding

The next most important thing to realize about child support orders in Texas is that they aren’t optional. So, you have a right to enforce the original order if your ex-spouse is not holding up their end of the arrangement.

When a judge orders child support, they expect that all parents will respect that order. Anyone who violates a child support order can be held in contempt of court.

However, before this happens, the judge must be told that their order is being ignored. How this happens is your attorney will help you file a motion with the court to advise that child support payments are not being made.

What Judges Can Do to Enforce Child Support Non-Compliance

Judges in Texas have several tools at their disposal to compel your ex to make the proper payments and collect past-due child support. Judges have the ability to:

  • File a lien against properties owned by the delinquent parent
  • Suspend the delinquent parent’s driver’s license
  • Intercept state and federal money, like income tax refunds and lottery winnings
  • Place the delinquent parent in jail until they pay
  • Levy fines and other penalties for failing to adhere to the order

Typically, a judge will demand that a delinquent parent pay back child support on a retroactive basis. Depending on the severity of the situation, they may also modify the order going forward. Regardless, the delinquent parent is still responsible for all unpaid child support.

Additionally, judges have tools to ensure the delinquent parent doesn’t miss future payments. For example, a judge can order the Child Support Division of the Texas Attorney General’s Office to deduct child support directly from the delinquent parent’s paycheck.

3. Remember The Legal Process Isn’t the Only Choice

While judges have the power to enforce child support orders, the legal process can take time in your county. It could take weeks, months, or even years before you start receiving proper compensation. An experienced family law attorney may be able to correct the problem without going through the court system.

This option is most effective when the delinquent parent is facing financial difficulties. In this case, they may want to pay child support, but they don’t have the financial means to do so. If your attorney believes the non-payment is a good-faith situation, we may be able to help negotiate a payment plan that accounts for your ex-spouse’s current financial troubles.

Your attorney will create a legally binding contract that eventually results in you getting all back payments and future payments. However, this only works when your ex-spouse isn’t intentionally cutting you off.

Our attorneys can review your situation to ensure that you are not setting yourself up for future legal hardships if your ex also fails to comply with an arrangement made outside court.

4. Don’t Try to Correct the Issue on Your Own

You deserve child support payments, and the state of Texas agrees. However, that doesn’t mean you can do anything you feel is right to receive the money you are owed.

Some tactics will hurt your case and may even cause you to lose the legal right to receive payments. We recommend that you avoid doing any of the following to hurt your case.

Preventing Your Ex From Seeing The Children

While the court can limit visitation rights or cancel them while a parent is delinquent, you don’t have that right. Trying to take the law into your hands could cause you to be held in contempt of court or hurt your case for trying to receive overdue child support.

Using Your Past Marriage to Take Money From Their Account

Because you were once married to your ex-spouse, you likely have access to bank accounts that were previously shared. You may think it’s right to use that information to transfer money to your account. However, that is theft, and you could face criminal charges if you take this action. 

Instead, talk to a helpful attorney who will help you through the process without risking consequences for you.

Getting Your Children Involved

Some parents will tell their children to guilt-trip the delinquent parent to pay past child support. Doing this puts your child in an unfair situation that should be handled by parents.

Similarly, it’s not a good idea to tell your child to ask their other parent for money and take it later. You are effectively stealing from your child at that point.

While your child suffers when your ex doesn’t pay child support, that doesn’t mean you should involve them in the dispute. Try to handle the situation with the other parent or involve a family law attorney to go through the proper legal channels.

5. Contact Parker & Aguilar for Help With Child Support

Your ex-spouse should be paying full child support on time. If they aren’t paying what they should, and you don’t feel like they are taking the appropriate steps to fix the situation, you need assistance with child support enforcement.

Our attorneys have access to the tools for child support enforcement Texas residents can use to their advantage. We’ll represent you before the court, help you navigate legal hurdles, and arrive at the best possible outcome for your situation.

We currently support parents in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, Galveston County, and Matagorda County. If you live in one of these counties, contact our offices ​​to discuss your child support situation.

You can reach us at 979-267-7660 (Angleton office) or 281-944-5485 (Sugar Land office) to speak with a local attorney who is ready to help you receive what you are owed. Contact us as soon as possible to get started enforcing the original child support order.