Failure to pay child support is rampant in Texas and other states. In 2012, the Houston Chronicle reported that about half a million parents ordered to pay child support have fallen behind or ceased paying altogether. This accounts for a shortfall of some $11 billion in payments. If you need assistance with a child support matter, it is important that you work with a Bryan family attorney.
The Importance of Child Support
Texas family courts are very concerned about the best interests of any children who are involved in a divorce. Child support is intended to be paid by the non-custodial spouse, with the intention of maintaining the child’s well-being. Child support is calculated in accordance with both the needs of the children and income of the paying spouse.
Consequences of Non-Payment
When child support is not paid, the child potentially is deprived of basic necessities, education expenses, and medical care. For this reason, non-payment is regarded as a serious offense. A parent who fails to pay child support may be subject to any of the following:
- Garnishing of wages
- Garnishing of unemployment if the parent isn’t working, and workers’ compensation benefits
- Placing a lien on the non-paying parent’s home
- Suspending of the driver’s license
- Denying of tax refunds
- Revoking of one’s passport
- Changing immigration status
In addition, non-payment may be handled as a civil or criminal case and a warrant issued:
- Civil Warrant: A civil warrant is issued in the event that the custodial parent asks for a ruling of contempt of court. The reasoning is that, since payment of child support is ordered by the court, non-paying is a tantamount to contempt of court.
- Criminal Warrant: A criminal warrant generally isn’t issued unless a parent is woefully delinquent on child support payments. It should be noted that a criminal warrant is enforceable in any state, so it would not help the non-paying parent to flee the state. The result of a criminal warrant can include incarceration in county jail for up to a year, a fine, or both.
If a Parent Cannot Pay Child Support
Given the current uncertain economic climate, many people are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. A parent who cannot pay the full child support amount should contact his or her child support agency and discuss the situation. It is also possible to go to court and request a modification order. The worst thing a person can do, however, is simply to not pay and ignore the problem.
Non-Payment Is a Serious Matter
Failing to pay child support is not only potentially harmful to the children, but also is against the law. If you are involved in a non-payment matter, it is imperative that you work with a Bryan family lawyer who has the knowledge and drive to fight for you. Call Peterson Law Group today at 979-703-7014 or 936-337-4681.