Many of my consults revolve around
child support. Sometimes people are coming to see me because they are unable to pay
Other times it is because things had been going well both parents had come
to an agreement after child support had established that
child support was no longer needed. However, the Court order was never changed and now
the parents were arguing and the parent who was supposed to be receiving
child support was going after the parent who was ordered to pay
child support for the missed payments.
In either of these situations it is a mistake to ignore a
child support order.
The Order is the Order Until it is Changed
When I consult with people regarding their child support obligations probably
one of the things you will hear me say is that the
Child Support Order is the Order until it is changed. What I mean by this just because your
financial situation has changed and you are no longer earning as much
as you used to does not automatically change how much you owe each month.
If you are earning less than that is one reason to ask the Court to lower
your child support. To change how much you owe involves going back to
Court and asking the Judge to reevaluate how much you owe and sign a new
The Only Signature Matters is the Judge’s Signature
Sometimes people either come to me worried or excited because they have
signed an agreement with their EX in regards to child support. This agreement
is even notarized. I then either relieve or disappoint them by telling
them it does not matter. It takes more than a signed notarized agreement
to change or obligate someone in regards to child support.
There would need:
- An open an ongoing case
- The agreement would need to meet statutory grounds such as through mediation
- That agreement would then need to be reduced to a Court Order
- That Court Order would need to be signed by a Judge
Can I ask that for Child Reimbursement from the Time I Lost My Job?
Probably not. Under Section 156.401(b) of the Texas Family Code, “A
support order may be modified with regard to the amount of support ordered
only as to obligations accruing after the earlier of:
- the date of service of citation; or
- an appearance in the suit to modify
What this means is that the soonest you can ask for a change is from time
you get your EX served with paperwork letting them know you want your
child support obligation changed. If you let time go by unless your EX agrees your obligation
amount is only changeable as described above.
Child Support Enforcement
In Texas, parents are required to support their children financially until
the child reaches the age of 18 or stops attending high school. Texas
law provides a variety of solutions for when a parent refuses to comply
with the court’s
child support order. These options include:
- Withholding of Earnings: The court may order that up to 50% of the parent’s
take-home pay be withheld
Contempt: If found to be in contempt, the noncompliant parent could face a $500
fine, up to 6 months in prison, or both. This option is usually not available
if your support order is from a state other than Texas.
- Suspension of State Licenses: The court could order that the parent’s
driver, professional, and hunting and fishing licenses be suspended
- Withholding State Contracts, Grants and Loans
- Monetary Damages
- Liens on Property
- Levies on Financial Institutions
- Passport Sanctions
- Credit Bureau Reporting
- Child Support being reduced to a Judgment
- Qualified Domestic Relations Orders for Child Support
If a parent does not pay
child support as Ordered by a Court they are at risk of having a court case brought
against them and one or more of the above being Ordered against them.
child support judgments can follow you around by showing up in your credit history, preventing
you from renewing governmentally issued licenses, and or getting a tax refund.
If you have questions regarding your child support obligation you should
seek a Free legal consult with one of our
child support lawyers at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan who can tell you your options so that
you can decide how to handle it.
Wage Withholding Order
An administrative writ of withholding for delinquent child support does
not seek to impose a legal liability on the obligor to support his/her
children. Instead, it is one of the several methods the Family Code provides
as a remedy to secure performance of a previously adjudicated liability.
The Family Code allows an administrative remedy to collect child support
when an obligor’s child support is at least one month delinquent.
Child Support Judgment
child support lien freezes a financial account, but a levy is still required to be able to
seize the money in the account. A judgment or administrative determination
of child support arrears is required to file a child support levy. Tex.
Fam. Code §157.327(a). An administrative determination of
child support arrears occurs when the arrearages are determined by an administrative or judicial
writ of withholding under Chapter 158 of the Texas Family Code.
Child Support Liens
Under Texas Family Code §157.313, failure to pay
child support as ordered may result in a child support lien. A child support lien arises
by operation of law when any child support payment is delinquent. Tex.
Fam. Code §157.312(d). Every child support payment that is not timely
made is a judgment. Tex. Fam. Code §157.261. There is no requirement
that you receive a child support cumulative money judgment before filing
a child support lien. A child support lien may issue “regardless
of whether the amounts have been adjudicated or otherwise determined.”
Tex. Fam. Code §157.312(d). A lien can attach to all the property
owned by the obligor except a homestead. Tex. Fam. Code §157.317.
Child Support Levy on Financial Institutions
A child support lien freezes a financial account, but a levy is still required
to be able to seize the money in the account. A judgment or administrative
determination of child support arrears is required to file a child support
levy. Tex. Fam. Code §157.327(a). An administrative determination
of child support arrears occurs when the arrearages are determined by
an administrative or judicial writ of withholding under Chapter 158 of
the Texas Family Code.
Suspension of License for Failure to Pay Child Support
Chapter 232 of the Texas Family Code sets out the methods of suspension
of a professional, or recreational, license to secure compliance of a
court order. License suspension for failure to pay child support may only
be obtained if the obligor had previously been given the opportunity to
pay the child support arrears and failed to do so. This provision does
not apply only to a driver license. It can apply to any type of license
issued by any licensing authority specifically defined in Texas Family
Code Section 232.002.
If you owe $2,500 or more in child support, you are not eligible to receive
a U.S. passport. Passport Denial Program was created by the Personal Responsibility
and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 that is operated
under the auspices of the Federal Tax Refund Offset Program.
Credit Bureau Reporting
The state Title IV-D program is authorized to report the names of delinquent
support obligors and the amounts of the delinquencies to consumer credit
bureaus, subject to appropriate due process protections under which the
obligor may contest the amount of the arrearage being reported
Qualified Domestic Relations Orders for Child Support
A “domestic relations order” (DRO) is a court order issued
by a state that divides a pension plan and orders that a portion of it
be paid to an alternate payee, the child, as child support. The DRO magically
becomes “qualified” and is a QDRO when the pension plan administrator
accepts that DRO as meeting its requirements and agrees to honor the DRO.
On any retirement plan – whether it is a defined benefit plan (monthly
payout type) or defined contribution (401k). It is not necessary for an
IRA. If the obligor has no other income, the pension plan provides a regular
source, just like an employer’s withholding order.
If you want to know more about what you can do,
CLICK the button below to get your
“16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Can my Texas Driver's License Be Suspended for Not paying Child Support?
- Child Support Modification in Texas (Part 1)
- What do I do if I have overpaid child support in Texas?
- Child Custody Basics in Texas
- Child Support and College Tuition in Texas
- Texas Child Support Appeals
- In Texas are Child Support and Visitation Connected?
- Texas Child Support – Trust and Annuities
- Special Needs Children in Texas Child Support Cases
- How to get above guideline child support.
Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Spring Divorce Lawyer
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children
and families. If you have questions regarding
divorce, it's important to speak with ar
Spring, TX Divorce Lawyer right away to protect your rights.
divorce lawyer in Spring TX is skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing
a strategy to meet those goals.
Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online
form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles
Divorce cases in Spring, Texas,
The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including
Fort Bend County and