If your ex has stopped making child support payments, you should reach out to a Bedford child support attorney. Deadbeat parents fail to meet their child support obligation. With a qualified attorney, you should discuss your options to understand how Texas enforces child support orders.
It is possible that the other parent is unable to make payments because of a change in their circumstances. If there is a valid reason for the support order to be changed, your attorney can work with the other party and the Office of the Attorney General Child Support Division to find a solution.
If there has been no change in circumstances since the order was issued, you or your lawyer will need to contact the Attorney General’s Office. The Attorney General is in charge of enforcing child support orders in Texas. You do not need to be represented by an attorney to contact their office.
However, the system is extremely backlogged, and if you do not have a lawyer advocating on your behalf and helping you navigate the process, you may wait significantly longer to receive payments.
In addition to opening a claim with the Office of the Attorney General, your attorney can file an enforcement order in the Tarrant County court asking the judge to find your ex in contempt of court for violating a direct court order.
Failing to Pay Child Support in Bedford, Texas
Texas has a low tolerance for deadbeat parents who don’t pay child support. Parents who fail to make child support payments face serious legal consequences and can even be put in jail.
What are the Punishments for Failing to Pay Child Support in Bedford, Texas?
If the parent is found in contempt of violating a court order, the judge can issue a fine or a warrant for their arrest. The parent will face up to six months in jail. The penalties increase if the parent is found in violation of Texas Penal Code 25.05 and charged with criminal nonsupport. Criminal nonsupport is when an individual intentionally or knowingly fails to provide support. If an individual is found guilty of criminal nonsupport, they will face from six months to two years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
In addition to fines and jail time, the Office of the Attorney General has several tools at its disposal to enforce the nonpayment of child support, including:
• Garnish Wages – They can intercept paychecks from the parent’s employer through an income withholding order (IWO)
• Intercept Tax Refund and Lottery Winnings
• Suspend Licenses – They can suspend driver’s licenses (even commercial licenses), professional licenses, and recreational licenses.
• Deny Passport Application – An individual is not eligible to receive a passport if they owe $2,500 or more in child support payments.
• Place a Lien on Property – They can file a financial lien against nearly any asset the parent owns, including their house, vehicle, bank account, retirement plan, lawsuit settlements, life insurance policy, and business.
• Report to Nonpayment to Credit Bureaus – the missed payments will be listed as debt and negatively affect the parent’s credit score.
Finally, if a parent neglects to make child support payments meet certain criteria, they can be placed in the Child Support Evaders Program. The Child Support Evaders Program is a website that lists parents who are delinquent on payment and includes their name, number of children, and the amount they owe. To qualify for the program, the individual must:
• Have an arrest warrant issued;
• Owe $5,000 or more in child support;
• Be at least six months behind in payments; and
• Be avoiding apprehension by the police.
Can You Deny Visitation if Parent Hasn’t Paid Child Support?
Child support and visitation are two completely separate issues in Texas. Parents can still see their children, even when they have stopped making child support payments. You cannot stop a nonpaying parent from seeing their child as ordered in a child custody agreement. If you prevent your ex from seeing the child, you could be held in contempt of court for violating a visitation order.
Your Bedford Child Support Attorney
If you have questions about modifying a child support order, you should contact an experienced Bedford child support lawyer. The Law Office of Craig S. Michalk has helped the residents of Tarrant County navigate child support, divorce, and other family law matters for over 24 years. Call the Law Office of Craig S. Michalk today at 817-282-9895 for a free consultation. We look forward to the opportunity to discuss and assist you with your divorce needs.