When parents live separately, they must make provisions for both parties to contribute to their children’s financial support. When parents divorce, child support will be part of the divorce decree. Unmarried parents often submit a parenting plan and child support agreement to the court which incorporates it into a court order.
Sometimes, the government will impose child support on parents who never made a formal child support agreement. If a parent applies for welfare or healthcare benefits for their child, the Attorney General’s Office (AG) will attempt to locate the other parent and force them to pay for their child’s support. A parent who is not applying for public benefits also could seek the AG’s help regarding child support issues.
Parents who have a valid child support order must abide by it. If your co-parent is behind on payments or has stopped paying entirely, you could pursue legal action to enforce the order. In such circumstances, enlisting the help of a Pearland child support enforcement lawyer could be beneficial. A skilled child support attorney at Angela Faye Brown & Associates could advise a parent on the most effective and efficient strategy in their specific case.
Texas Family Code §154.001 says children are entitled to both parents’ financial support until they have reached age 18 or they graduate from high school, whichever is later. A child who marries is no longer entitled to parental financial support, and if a court grants a child’s request for emancipation, they lose their right to child support. If a child has a disability that prevents them from working at a job that could enable them to support themselves, they could be entitled to child support indefinitely.
Child support, child custody, and visitation are separate issues. Courts consider a parent who uses child support as leverage in custody and visitation decisions to be violating the law and acting contrary to the child’s interests.
For example, a parent may not refuse to pay child support if they do not receive as much parenting time as they would like. A parent cannot refuse to make a child available for visitation unless the other parent catches up with their child support. A Pearland child support enforcement attorney could advise a parent on the best way to handle a situation in which the other parent is using child support as leverage on other issues pertaining their children.
When a parent falls behind on their child support payments, it is called being in arrears. In many cases, the children suffer because the custodial parent’s income is not enough to maintain the standard of living the child enjoyed when the parents were together. In such cases, a parent whose child is not receiving the agreed support should contact a child support enforcement lawyer in Pearland to discuss their legal options.
If the AG is administering the child support payments because the child is receiving public assistance or the receiving parent requested it, the AG could pursue the delinquent parent for the arrears. The receiving parent does not have the option to prevent the AG from enforcing the child support order against the delinquent parent.
If the parents are managing child support without the AG’s assistance, the receiving parent could bring a motion seeking to enforce the child support order. A court could hear a motion seeking child support arrearages and order a lump sum payment up to ten years after the end of the obligation to pay support. It could also hold a parent in contempt for failing to comply with a child support order up to two years after the obligation to pay support ends.
If a judge finds that a parent did not pay child support as ordered and the parent in arrears has no legitimate legal excuse for their failure, the court will order the parent to pay their arrears. In addition, the court could order the parent to pay interest on the arrears and reimburse attorney’s fees and court costs.
If the parent has a job, the court might order the employer to deduct child support from the worker’s paycheck, called garnishment. The garnishment could be up to 50 percent of the worker’s income after the employer has made mandatory deductions for taxes, Social Security, etc. In addition, a court could suspend a delinquent parent’s driver’s license, professional license, or fish and game license.
When non-payment of child support resulted in significant harm to the children, the petitioning parent might request a court hold a parent in contempt for violating the child support order. If a court grants the request, a parent might be sentenced to serve jail time. A child payment enforcement lawyer in Pearland could assist a parent seeking a contempt order against a delinquent parent.
If your co-parent is not paying child support as agreed, your child suffers. You have an obligation to defend their right to the co-parent’s financial support.
A Pearland child support enforcement lawyer understands the system and how to achieve a parent’s goals most efficiently. Call today to schedule a conversation with a dedicated legal professional at Angela Faye Brown & Associates.