Protecting Your Family's Future

What Happens If I Stop Paying Child Support?

It is wiser to ask the court to modify your child support obligation than it is to stop paying child support altogether without any explanation. Child support modifications are available if your financial circumstances have changed or if you have additional children, for example.

If you stop paying child support without notifying the court, you could suffer significant negative consequences – including a jail sentence. Before any negative consequences can accrue, however, someone – either the other parent, the Office of the Texas Attorney General, or the county domestic relations office – must file an enforcement action against you. If the motion for enforcement is successful, then you will be found in contempt of court because you failed to comply with the terms of a court-ordered child support obligation.

  • You could go to jail for up to 6 months, with child support still accruing during the time you serve.
  • Nonpayment of child support is a felony crime, which means you could be deported if you are a permanent resident and not a citizen.
  • Your jail sentence could be suspended and you could be put on supervision (probation). The conditions of probation can include regular child support payments, regular payments towards any past unpaid child support, and payment of the other parent’s attorneys’ fees for filing the motion for enforcement.
  • The other parent could place a lien on any property you own, which means that proceeds from the sale would go to satisfy your child support obligation.
  • The other parent could have your wages or tax refund garnished.
  • If you have any state-issued license, it could be suspended. These include your driver’s license, your hunting or fishing license, and any occupational license.

You can find additional information about the consequences of failing to pay child support on the website of Legal Aid of Northwest Texas.

There are defenses to a motion for enforcement, and we can help. Stewart Law, PLLC, located in Baytown, Texas, has provided legal counsel to men and women in divorce and family law matters for 8 years. For an initial assessment and consultation of your child support case, contact us online  or call our office at (281) 420-8020, at a reduced fee of $50.

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Stewart Law PLLC