Child support is almost always granted to the parent with whom a child lives primarily upon separation or divorce. It is often a child’s lifeline for basic necessities, and the State of Texas will punish parents who do not pay child support when ordered to do so.

An alarming 46 percent of parents who are court-ordered to pay child support in Dallas County are late on their payments, reports the Houston Chronicle in 2012, citing data from the Texas Office of the Attorney General (OAG). There are steep consequences for defaulting on child support in Texas, and the law provides an avenue of recourse for recipient parents seeking arrearages.

Texas Attorney General’s Stance on Child Support

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott explains in a 2005 alert posted on the OAG website that reneging on child support, which can be a criminal offense, inflicts real harm on children. He explains,Research shows that children who receive regular child support also:

  • make better grades in school;
  • are more likely to finish high school and attend college;
  • have fewer behavior problems at school; and
  • are more likely to see their fathers.”

Abbott goes on to express the situation in which defaulting on child support can put children and shares his stance on accountability: “Unfortunately, there are many children in communities throughout Texas who will never know the benefits of steady child support payments. Their parents have the ability to pay but refuse to fulfill a legal and moral duty to support their children. These mothers and fathers must be held accountable for the harm they cause.”

Consequences of Defaulting on Child Support

As stated above, not paying child support can be a criminal offense. Texas Penal Code §25.05 states that it is a state felony to knowingly fail to provide court-ordered child support. Should a parent fail to pay, possible consequences include:

  • wage garnishment;
  • driver’s license and/or passport revocation;
  • tax refund denial;
  • property liens;
  • fines; and
  • jail time.

“It is my goal to create a culture of compliance in Texas that dictates consequences to mothers and fathers who refuse to pay their court-ordered child support,” Abbott said. “Prosecuting parents for criminal nonsupport is a sure way to hold parents accountable and bring justice to the children they are neglecting.”

Taking Action to Get Your Child Support Payments

If your ex is not paying court-ordered child support, your first order of business should be to consult your attorney. Criminal charges may ensue, and you may need your lawyer to help you draft a Motion to Determine Arrearage to file with the court.

The court will take immediate action to collect child support, as long as you can show that your ex has the ability to pay or intentionally put himself or herself in a position where he or she can’t afford to pay, e.g., quitting a high-paying job to start an unprofitable business.

Get Help from a Child Support Attorney

If you are having trouble collecting your child support, our firm can help. Child support attorney Julie Johnson moves determinedly to obtain the support children need and deserve. For a consultation for cases in or around Dallas, contact the Law Office of Julie Johnson, PLLC today at (214) 290-8001 or fill out our contact form.