When a court issues an order mandating that a parent make child support payments in Texas, the parent is obligated to meet the requirements of the order. In fact, not making child support payments in time or in full can have serious legal consequences.
If you have been ordered to pay child support in Texas and stop making your payments, here’s a look into what you need to know about what the consequences may be–
How the State of Texas Enforces Child Support
If you are delinquent on your child support payments, the party to whom you are supposed to be paying support can contact the Texas Attorney General Child Support Division for assistance with enforcement. The state of Texas takes child support enforcement very seriously. If you fall behind on payments, you may be subject to:
- Garnishment of your wages;
- Interception of your federal income tax return;
- Garnishment of money that is due from a state or federal source;
- The filing of a lien against your property;
- Garnishment of funds held within a private bank account;
- Suspension of your driver’s license, professional license, or even a hunting or fishing license;
- Having a lawsuit filed against you; and
- Being held in contempt of court.
How Far Behind on Child Support Before Jail Is a Reality for a Delinquent Parent?
Many parents who have failed to make their child support payments wonder how far behind they can get on those payments before being arrested and going to jail is on the table.
In order to be put in jail for not paying child support, you must first be held in contempt of court. Contempt of court means that you have failed to follow a court order, and is a very serious offense in Texas. Indeed, each violation can run you a $500 fine and result in jail time. Under a contempt of court charge, you can be placed in jail for up to six months.
A Handbook for Noncustodial Parents published by the Texas Attorney General explains that there are also some cases where you may be placed in jail until a child support obligation is paid. This occurs in the event that a person is criminally prosecuted and convicted of a felony.
What If I Don’t Want to Pay Child Support?
If you haven’t been making your child support payments because you disagree with your child support payments, you need to take action immediately. The first thing that you should do is hire a child support lawyer, who will reiterate the fact that simply ceasing to make court-ordered payments is not within your best interests. Your lawyer can then assist you in seeking a modification of a support order.
Call the Law Office of Ben Carrasco Today
To learn more about what happens if you don’t pay child support in Texas, how to enforce a child support order, or how to modify a court order, call our family law attorney at the Law Office of Ben Carrasco today.