Protecting Your Family's Future

What Happens When a Party Stops Paying Child Support?

The Impact of Not Paying Child Support in Texas

You may be a custodial parent wondering what your options are when your ex-spouse stops paying child support. Or, as the noncustodial parent, you may have lost your job or be unable to make child support payments for some other reason. This blog provides an overview of what can happen when a person stops making child support payments as ordered by a Texas court.

The Sanctions a Court May Impose for Nonpayment of Child Support

In Texas, the state attorney general’s office handles legal actions to enforce child support orders. Because the law in Texas requires that the noncustodial parent have child support withheld from his or her paycheck, as long as the noncustodial parent is working child support should be collected. However, if the noncustodial parent becomes unemployed or is self-employed, nonpayment issues may arise.

When a noncustodial parent stops making child support payments, that parent is technically in violation of a court order. This violation of a court order can be construed as contempt of court. Accordingly, the attorney general can take legal action, which could include criminal sanctions, if a nonpaying party is found to be in contempt of court.

Other actions that can be taken in response to the failure to pay child support include:

  • Interception of tax refunds — the attorney general may attach any state or federal income tax refunds
  • Suspension of driving privileges
  • Suspension of professional or business licenses
  • Suspension of passport
  • Attachment of any lottery winnings

It’s important to understand that the loss of a job does not have any impact on a child support order. To change a support order, you must request a modification from the court. Typically, unless you are without work for a significant period of time or can show that it is unlikely that you will return to work or will be able to find work, the court will not change your order. Instead, an arrearage will accrue.

Questions About What Happens When a Party Stops Paying Child Support? Custody, Divorce, and Family Law Attorney, Baytown, Texas

Stewart Law, PLLC, located in Baytown, Texas, provides legal counsel to parents involved in relocation issues, child support and custody matters, divorce, and other family law cases. If you have questions about how to stop your ex from moving away with your child, or other custody, divorce, or family law matters, we can give you advice that will help you decide how to proceed. For an initial assessment and consultation, contact our family law firm online or call our office at (281) 420-8020, at a reduced fee of $50.

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