Finally, a judge has awarded you Fort Worth TX child support from your ex. You may be feeling a bit of relief, but it may not be over if he (or she) hasn’t paid anything yet. As many custodial parents will tell you, the “deadbeat dad/parent” isn’t an uncommon phenomenon.
A report from the Houston Chronicle indicates that in 2011, over 460,000 parents were delinquent on child support payments, to the tune of over $11 billion.
If you find yourself waiting a long time for your child support with no answers, you may be wondering what to do next. Substantial changes in the other parent’s circumstances may prevent them from making timely payments. However, the State of Texas takes the payment of child support seriously.
Reasons For Fort Worth TX Child Support Delinquency
Child support is a court order, and ignoring it can bring significant consequences.
Many non-custodial parents have changes in circumstances that may leave them unable to pay for Fort Worth TX child support. Unemployment, accidents, and other unexpected obstacles mean that they simply don’t have the means to pay their obligation, at least, in the short term.
Other parents chose to ignore the child support order out of anger towards the custodial parent. Unfortunately, it doesn’t relieve the delinquent parent from his or her obligation, but creates additional, compounded problems, in addition to financial difficulty for the custodial parent.
Research from Health and Human Resources shows that most unpaid child support payments are owed by non-custodial parents whose incomes are below $10,000 per year. Employing incarceration as a method of enforcement doesn’t result in better payments, and, in fact, has the opposite effect. Incarcerating a parent for nonpayment of Fort Worth TX child support can lead to:
- Additional accumulation of child support and other debt
- Increase the likelihood of the owing parent finding nearly any kind of employment
- Reduction of future earnings and ability to pay current and repay the arrears
- Diminish and erode the child’s relationship with his or her parents
- Negatively impact the family’s and community’s stability
If you’re a non-custodial parent who is unemployed or have other issues that may prevent you from paying, the Texas’ Attorney General’s office recommends staying in touch with the Child Support Division while you work to resolve them. If you’re having trouble paying, such as through unemployment, you can apply for a modification of child support until you are able to begin paying again. If you don’t, you could face additional interest charges on the unpaid balance, even after the child turns 18. Continuing to ignore a child support order could lead to jail time.
Penalties And Enforcement
Texas enforces child support payments with:
- Suspended professional and/or driver’s license (including CDL)
- Deny vehicle registrations (as of 2015)
- Payments deducted from paychecks (garnishments)
- Intercepted funds from lottery winnings, income tax refunds and other miscellaneous sources of income
- Property liens, in which the payments are intercepted before he or she receives proceeds from the sale of the property
- Jail time for long-term offenders
However, these methods can be counter-productive, especially if they inhibit the individual from finding and keeping gainful employment.
For delinquent parents who owe more than $5,000 of overdue child support, have made no payments in over six months, have a warrant out for their arrest, and are actively evading apprehension, Texas adds them to the Child Support Evaders list. If you are interested in adding a delinquent parent to this list, you’ll have to submit a photo of him or her, and submit a confidential form allowing the state to use their personal information.
A Compassionate Attorney For Your Family Law Needs
Texas parents have an obligation and a responsibility to financially support their children, whether or not they are living with them. If you’re not getting the support you need to take care of your children, we can help.
Wendy L. Hart is an experienced Fort Worth Texas family law attorney helping people throughout Tarrant County who are dealing with child support issues. As a divorcee herself, Wendy understands the process as well as the difficulties involved. We represent both men and women in these cases. We’ll make sure you’re treated fairly, and will protect your interests and your children.