What Issues Does Past Due Child Support Create?
Under Texas law, the parent without primary custody, usually referred to as the non-custodial parent, will be the one paying child support. The amount of that support payment is based on the non-custodial parent’s income. Parents cannot agree to a lower support amount than that recommended by the state, although parents can agree on a higher amount than that listed in the state’s child support guidelines.
The amount of your child support can be changed if your earnings change. If you believe that the amount of your child support may be inaccurate due to a change in your income, you can check to see if you qualify for a child support payment modification. If you do, an attorney can help you to obtain those changes quickly, which is particularly important if your income has decreased.
Impacts of Past Due Child Support
Child support payments are a legal obligation, so not making payments has legal implications. Although the exact steps taken will vary depending on your precise situation, the courts can choose to:
- Require employers to deduct child support from your paycheck
- Garnish your federal tax return
- File liens against your property
- Take funds from your bank account
- Suspend any of your official licenses, including driver’s and professional
- List you on the state’s child support evaders website if you are $5,000 or more behind
- Hold you in contempt of court, with a jail term of up to six months
- Find you guilty of criminal nonsupport, with a jail term of six months to two years
Financial ramifications are usually enacted first, but you may be held in contempt of court for disobeying the order to pay child support at any time. Contempt of court can land you in jail, and you will remain responsible for child support payments even while incarcerated.
Getting Help with Child Support
Past due child support can be overwhelming, since it will just continue to accrue, and the state charges interest on past due payments as well. Even once your child is over the age of eighteen, you can still be held responsible for past due child support.
If you are struggling to meet your child support obligations or if you object to the payment arrangement, contact an attorney right away. You have legal rights to object to child support arrangements, but you should not do so by refusing to pay. It is essential that you use legal routes to do so in order to avoid serious ramifications, including jail time.
Even if you do not qualify for a reduction or cancellation of child support, you can still get help. It is important that you pay what you can, even if it is not the full amount, to demonstrate your commitment to meeting your obligations. Your attorney can also assist you in communicating with the appropriate authorities about your payments and plans for continuing support.
Contact an Attorney
If you’ve got questions about or problems with your child support arrangement, contact the Houston child support attorneys at Lindamood & Robinson, P.C., right away. Child support issues can become very serious very quickly, so don’t wait to get an attorney on your side.