There are consequences for failing to pay child support in full and on time. Child support is one of the most important aspects of any child custody order. Being able to provide for your children from my financial perspective is a crucial responsibility when it comes to parenting. If you are the non-primary custodian of a child, then you are likely familiar with paying child support as one of the duties under your court order. For that reason, you would want to have paid attention during your divorce case to determine what your responsibilities are from the perspective of paying child support.
Child support is frequently a topic that frustrates even the calmest and most rational among us. There is something stressful about having to pay money that is supposed to go to benefit your children but for the money to first go to your ex-spouse is especially frustrating. Although there aren't many options that can help your child more directly than to pay child support there are stressful aspects of paying child support that you may have to consider and then move past. The truth is that child support will be with you until your child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever happens last.
The state of Texas wants to make it as difficult as possible for you to miss your child support payments each month. Is understandable as it may be 2 get frustrating in the context of having to pay child support to the next mouse the reality is that this money is intended to help your child. The less frequently that you pay child support or the more disruptions there are to your payments the more difficulties your child will Encounter as a result. I don't think for one second that you would want your child to have to deal with disruptions to their life such as having difficulty with paying rent or being able to afford groceries for that month. As much as you may think otherwise, these are the type of bills that your Co-parent will be using your child support to provide for.
Wage withholding Order
After your divorce or child custody case, you should have been put on a wage withholding order. A wage withholding order will automatically deduct your wages from your employer each month and send those wages to the Office of the Attorney General Child Support Division. The Office of the Attorney General will then send that money to your co-parent for him or her to use towards the benefit of your children. If you did not have a wage withholding order set up after your family case, you can contact the Office of the Attorney General to see about getting that set up for you.
Some people when they learn about a wage withholding order can become stressed out or frustrated. The idea that the government would need to get in between your money and your child is a strange situation to be in. However, there are benefits to this setup considering your circumstances now that you are living in a separate household from your child. Let's walk through why the wage withholding order can make your life and your child's life better.
You may have run into situations in your past where you and your co-parent have had disagreements over child support. You all may have been on informal child support payments where you pay her some money every month based on text message conversations and things of that nature. Nothing was ever clearly discussed but you rightfully felt an obligation to your child to want to help him as much as possible. Some months you may have paid your co-parent more than in other months based on how much income you’ve earned or what is going on in the life of your child. This arrangement may have worked out for a period but if you're a Co-parent ever got in touch with you to say that he or she needs more money than you were prepared to pay then there will be a problem in your life.
For this reason, a wage withholding order and child support orders, in general, can be a great advantage for you and your family. It is an advantage given that a wage withholding order confirms how much money you must pay in child support each month as well as how you will pay it. There are fewer questions and way fewer uncertainties when it comes to a child support order. No longer will you have to concern yourself with having to figure out what your Co-parent needs or what the changing financial landscape for her household looks like. Rather, you will be responsible for paying the same amount of child support each month regardless of what else is going on in her life.
Additionally, neither you nor your Co-parent will be responsible for keeping track of how much child support has been paid in what yet needs to be paid. the reason for this is that a Ledger will be kept on the website for the office of the attorney general that you and your Co-parent will have access to. Whenever either of you wants, you can check the way of sight to see where you are in your payments. This way there will be no disagreements on who owns what or if you are late to make a payment this past month. A clear-cut record will be maintained so that both of you are operating under the same set of facts.
Related to the topic of child support is often the topic of visitation. I have worked with many parents, usually, fathers, who have had their visitation restricted because they were either unable to make a child support payment last month or were late in making a child support payment. In their case, their child's mother decided to withhold visitation to punish the father for his late, incomplete, or lack of a child support payment. many fathers are simply assumed that this is the right of their Co-parents. Sort of a “pay for play” situation. However, this is not the case at all under Texas law.
rather, it is not a condition precedent for you to be able to see your child for you to also pay child support. Likewise, just because your Co-parent is withholding visitation from you does not also mean that you can withhold child support. If you have a disruption to your income or are otherwise unable to pay child support you are still entitled to a visit on the normal schedule with your child. Your Co-parent can file an enforcement case against you to seek court-authorized sanctions and penalties against your failure to pay child support. However, your withholding visitation under these circumstances is not appropriate and is in and of itself a violation of your court orders.
If you find yourself in a position where you will need to miss a child support payment for any reason, then there are some steps you can follow to heartfully address this with your Co-parent. The first thing that I would do is to make sure that you do not try to hide it from your Co-parent or otherwise mask the issue. For one, she will find out sooner rather than later. Remember that her household budget depends upon these child support payments. there are ways to begin to discuss this subject with your Co-parent that is both honest and direct but will hopefully lead to her being willing to work with you rather than immediately file an enforcement case against you.
The next thing you can do is contact the office of the attorney general. The office of the attorney general does not work on your behalf or behalf of your Co-parent. Rather, the office of the attorney general represents the state of Texas in hopes of ensuring that proper child support is made from you to your Co-parent. Once It becomes apparent to you that you are losing your job, need a new wage withholding order, or otherwise are going to be missing payments of child support you should contact the office of the attorney general. Note that the office of the attorney general can file an enforcement case against you for missed child support payments, but this is less likely to occur if you contact them and explain your reasoning why missed payments have occurred. Their office can work with you and with your Co-parent to determine a way for a repayment schedule to be worked out.
This repayment schedule would have to work out for both you and your Co-parent. It would be advisable to work out an arrangement with the office at the training general because they could get something official put into writing that would prevent your Co-parent from filing an enforcement case against you so long as you follow the terms of the agreement. However, you can only avail yourself of these benefits if you immediately contact their office once you become aware of the likelihood that you will miss a child support payment.
as you can tell, child support is a simple issue until it becomes more complicated. Everything can work out smoothly until you begin to miss child support payments. All it takes is a couple of missed payments for your Co-parent to be in a position where he or she could file an enforcement case against you. Even if you eventually win your child support enforcement case that will still have been time and money spent on something where you could have used it in other ways. For that reason, it is important to understand both your rights and those of your Co-parent before proceeding into post-child custody or post-divorce life. Be sure to speak to your attorney or reach out to one of our licensed family law attorneys at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan to learn more about this subject.
The relationship between your vehicle registration and missed child support payments
It may come as a shock to you to learn that your ability to operate a motor vehicle could be impacted by missed child support payments. If you carefully look through your child custody or divorce court orders, you will come to find out that there are no built-in excuses for you to miss child support payments. There are no laid off from work, pandemic, broke your leg, or had to care for a sick relative provision included in your court orders. Rather, you are responsible for paying a certain sum of child support each month to your Co-parent no matter what your circumstances are.
It is up to you to prepare for the uncertainties that life tends to throw at us. For example, if you are able, it may make a lot of sense for you to have a savings account where you keep money that only goes towards child support. You can view this as an emergency fund on top of your household emergency fund. That way if you ever lose your job or otherwise have an interruption in your income then you can fall back on those savings. Bear in mind, however, that many attorneys never speak to their clients about this sort of thing period therefore, unless you were represented by one of our attorneys in your child custody or divorce case this subject may never have even come up. Therefore, you may be in a tough position right now if you find yourself unable to pay for child support this month.
The state of Texas can utilize certain punishments against you to incentivize you to get back on schedule in terms of paying your child support. If you owe relatively large sums of child support, then there are new laws in Texas that may prevent you from doing something as simple as registering your vehicle. For instance, the Texas Department of motor vehicles can now deny registration renewals on your vehicles to you if you have gone six months or more without making a child support payment. I am relatively sure that we all know someone who has struggled with their income over the past couple of years period, in that case, this person may be in a tough position if they also owe child support.
The office said the attorney general's position on this is that by denying you the ability to register your motor vehicle they are simply utilizing existing state law. The goal of doing so is to get you on track with your child support payments and two force you into following court orders. Of course, a reasonable retort to this goal would be that a person cannot pay what they simply do not have. This means that if you do not have the money to pay your child support even not having a current registration for your vehicle will not put that money in your pocket.
This law has been on the books in Texas for nearly six years now. If your child support is delinquent by more than six months, then you may have even received a letter from the Texas Department of motor vehicles stating that your vehicle registration renewal is being denied due to this past-due child support. At the same time, the office of the attorney general will send you a similar letter stating that no renewal of your registration can occur until you contact their office to arrange a payment plan and to begin making payments under that plan.
I'm sure you've heard of the analogy of the carrot versus the stick when it comes to trying to motivate people to do something. The carrot is seen as an incentive to encourage people through positive reinforcement to accomplish some goal. On the other hand, the stick is a negative reinforcement stating that you will be hit, in this case metaphorically, with the penalty if you do not pay new child support. This is an example of the kind of incentive that is based on the stick portion of that analogy. You can suffer additional penalties for driving with expired registration.
All in all, none of this is something that you will want to become involved with on an extended basis. Rather, it is much more desirable for you to work with your Co-parent as well as the office of the turn general if he began to child support. If that is the situation that you are facing currently, please consider your options when it comes to hiring a lawyer. Many attorneys, such as ours, can work with you on limited scope arrangements where you can be assisted in this specific manner and do not have to necessarily higher our office on a full-fledged basis.
Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.
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Other Articles you may be interested in:
- Handling a child support case as the non-custodial parent, Part Five
- How to handle a child support case as the non-custodial parent, Part Four
- How to handle child support as the non-custodial parent, Part Three
- Defining a material and substantial change in a child support modification case
- How to properly calculate child support in Texas
- Is Overtime Pay or Bonus Pay Considered for Texas Child Support?
- Child Support in Texas: What is the most you will have to pay and what are the exceptions to that rule?
- The Dirty Trick of Quitting Your Job to Avoid Child Support During a Texas Divorce
- Can I get child support while my Texas divorce is pending?
- Do I Have to Pay Child Support if I Have Joint Custody of My Child in Texas?
- Can I Sue My Ex for Retroactive or Back Child Support in Texas?
- Child Support and College Tuition in Texas
- Can Parents Agree to No Child Support in Texas?
- Can you sign your rights away and not pay child support?