If you are raising your kids as a single parent, you depend on your child support to make sure ends meet. When your ex is late with child support payments, pays only a portion of what they owe, or stops paying altogether, you and your children suffer.
Child support is a legal obligation, and a non-custodial parent cannot just decide to pay less or not pay at all. If you are having trouble collecting support from the non-custodial parent, our Houston child support enforcement lawyer could help you. The child support attorneys at Angela Faye Brown & Associates have many years of experience in recovering the money you need to give your child the best life possible.
Parents have a legal duty to provide their children with the necessities of life—food, shelter, clothing, education, and medical care (including mental health and dental care). A non-custodial parent must provide support until the child reaches age 18 or graduates from high school, whichever comes later. If a child has a disability that could prevent them from earning a living, the parent’s obligation to provide support might extend into the child’s adulthood.
Child support obligations apply regardless of either parent’s circumstances, the relationship between the two parents, and the relationship between the non-custodial parent and the child or children. A parent cannot use the loss of a job, their ex-partner’s new relationship, or the absence of a bond with a child as an excuse to avoid paying child support.
A custodial parent can protect their child by insisting the former partner meet their legal obligations. Texas Family Code §157.002 allows the custodial parent to file a petition with the Court seeking enforcement of the child support order. Our motivated attorney could help a custodial parent draft the petition to the Court and present evidence proving the non-custodial parent is not meeting their legal obligations of child support.
When a Judge finds a parent in arrears in their child support, the Court issues an Order compelling to parent to pay. The total amount might include interest on the amount in arrears and the custodial parent’s enforcement costs, including attorney’s fees.
If the parent in arrears cannot pay all the back support at once, the Court might order a garnishment of their wages. With a garnishment order, the non-custodial parent’s employer will deduct a percentage of their salary for back child support.
A Court also could order the suspension of the non-compliant parent’s license to:
Once a Court has issued an Order confirming the amount owed, a custodial parent could place a lien on the non-compliant parent’s property or a levy on their bank or brokerage accounts. An experienced lawyer in Houston could help a parent file the necessary documents to impose a lien or levy for unpaid support.
Sometimes parents use visitation or lack of visitation with a child as a weapon in a child support dispute. Non-compliant parents must understand that child support obligations are enforceable separately from any visitation issues that might arise. They owe support even if they have no relationship with the child. By the same token, custodial parents may not restrict or deny visitation to induce a non-compliant parent to pay.
Child support is a payment to ensure the child’s welfare and well-being. If a custodial parent enters a new relationship, even a marriage, their changed financial status usually will not impact the non-custodial parent’s obligation to pay child support. If a non-custodial parent’s income or life circumstances change, they could seek a modification of a support order, but they cannot refuse to pay. Our knowledgeable attorneys could explain the circumstances in which a parent may be able to modify a child support order.
Child support disputes are disheartening and stressful, and potentially damaging to a child. Handing the process over to an experienced legal professional could reduce your anxiety and help protect your child from tuning in to any anger or resentment you might be feeling.
Contact our Houston child support enforcement lawyer at Angela Faye Brown & Associates if your ex has fallen behind on their obligations. The longer arrears accumulate, the harder it becomes to collect the full amount you are owed, so call today.