Child support payments can make a significant difference in a child’s life after parents decide to end their relationship. It is also one of the most crucial issues to address during a divorce or break-up between parents. Working out who will pay, how much and how the payments can be used typically adds to an already tense situation.
Raising a child is expensive, regardless of whether parents live together or apart. Support payments are calculated by the state, and courts can have the final say on how the funds are used to support a child’s upbringing, ensuring that their basic needs are met and preventing future complications or hardships.
Repercussions for neglecting or refusing to make payments
Texas has stiff punishments for child support evaders. Parents who miss payments can be found in contempt of court. Consequences include:
- Felony nonsupport can result in up to two years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000
- Revocation or suspension of the offender’s driver’s license
- A property lien can be issued for back support
- The state can garnish paychecks
- Tax refunds or lottery winnings can be confiscated
- Offenders can be declared ineligible for a passport if owing more than $2,500
- Owing back support can negatively impact a credit rating
- Support obligations don’t stop if the offender goes to jail or prison
- Past-due support can’t be discharged, even during bankruptcy proceedings
Additionally, the Texas attorney general’s office maintains a child support evaders webpage where photos and profiles are offered to the public of parents who are at least $5,000 delinquent in paying child support obligations. Even if a parent is behind in payments, they cannot be prohibited from seeing their child. This is because child support and visitation are not tied together in Texas.
If you are experiencing difficulties in paying or receiving court-ordered support, an experienced family law attorney can help.