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HOW FAR BEHIND ON CHILD SUPPORT BEFORE JAIL IN TEXAS

affordable legal help | Jul 03, 2020


Most states in the U.S. consider it the equal responsibility of both parents to support their children. The purpose of child support is to provide for a child's needs housing, clothing, food, medical assistance and extracurricular activities to name a few. Contrary to popular belief it is not a payment made to the custodial parent in exchange for caring for the child. However, most states do not regulate how money is actually used; it is assumed that the custodial parent will use the funds for the needs of the child in question.

PURPOSE OF CHILD SUPPORT

If a child's parents are not together, child support payments in Texas help ensure that the child has the same financial benefits of an intact household. Child support in Texas is intended to help offset the costs of a child's care. It can also be used to help pay for a portion of the utilities and housing costs for the home where the child lives. Both parents are expected to provide for the child's support but in reality, the non-custodial parent pays child support to the other parent.

According to a U.S. Census Bureau's Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support 2018 report, only 43.5% of the children to whom child support is owed regularly receive full payments. Failure to pay child support is a federal offence in the U.S. Non-custodial parents who fail to pay child support in Texas, face several penalties and may be criminally prosecuted for this offence.

When a court orders that a parent makes child support payments in Texas, the non-custodial parent is obligated to fulfill the court order. As a matter of fact, not making child support payments in full or on time can have serious legal outcomes. If you or a loved one have been ordered to pay child support in Texas and you have stopped making your payments, here is some important information that you need to know.

 

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DO NOT PAY CHILD SUPPORT IN TEXAS?

If you are overdue on your child support payments, the party to whom you are supposed to be paying child support payments can contact the Texas Attorney General Child Support Division to enforce child support payments. The state of Texas takes child support implementation very seriously. If you are delinquent on your child support payments, you may be subject to:

  • Wage Garnishment:

When a Texas court issues an order that requires your employer to withhold a certain amount of your paycheck under a court-issued Default Judgment and Wage Garnishment Order. They send it directly to the parent to whom you owe money until the debt is paid off. This order is sent to the non-custodial parent's employer instructing them to withhold child support payments from their income. This is an effective tool for collecting child support in Texas.

  • Interception of the income tax return

If a non-custodial parent does not pay child support payment in Texas, the state can intercept federal income tax refund checks, lottery winnings or any other money from federal or state sources according to Texas Child Support Laws.

  • Filing of a lien for your property:

"Child support liens" can be placed against cars, property, bank accounts, retirement plans to name a few if you are in arrears. A right to keep possession of the property belongs to the non-custodial parent until the outstanding child support payments are cleared.

  • Revoked or Suspended License

The state of Texas asks if you pay child support as a part of their driver's license renewal process. Local child support agencies regularly report to the Division of Motor Vehicles when a parent falls behind on child support payments. This allows the state of Texas to quickly check and reinforce the penalty for failure to pay child support payments. The court can also order the suspension of professional license, business license, commercial driver's license, concealed handgun license, hunting/fishing license. Under Chapter 232 of the Texas Child Support Laws, any license issued by a Texas agency can be revoked or suspended for failure to pay child support.

  • Denial of Passport

Delinquent parents will be unable to obtain passports according to Texas Child Support Laws. The state can prevent them from getting or renewing them, limiting the ability to travel. If you owe more than $2,500 in child support, you may not be eligible to receive a U.S. passport.

  • Negative Credit Rating

The state of Texas is authorized to report the names of individuals who are delinquent in child support to consumer credit bureaus according to Texas Child Support Laws.

  • Debt continues to mount while behind bars

The state of Texas does not halt or modify child support orders for non-custodial parents who go to jail. Your child support obligation remains the same and debt continues to mount while behind bars. To modify child support payments in Texas while behind bars, the non-custodial parent must file an "Incarcerated Non-Custodial Parent Affidavit of Income/Assets" and show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances.

  • Unpaid child support doesn't ever go away

The amount will just continue to increase because the state of Texas charges interest on unpaid child support payments. The state can go after and collect past-due child support even after the child becomes an adult.

  • Visitation Rights

Child support in Texas and visitation are completely separate. If you owe child support in Texas the custodial parent cannot prohibit you from seeing your child. Similarly, even if you do not see your child, you must pay child support in Texas.  

HOW FAR BEHIND ON CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS IN TEXAS BEFORE JAIL IS A REALITY FOR A DELINQUENT PARENT?

If you are a parent who has failed to make their child support payments, and you wonder how far behind you can get on those payments before being arrested and going to jail is on the table, then you must read on the following information.

You must first be held in contempt of court, in order to be put in jail for not paying child support in Texas. Contempt of court means that you failed to follow a court order. It is a very serious offence in Texas. Each violation can run you a fine of $500 and results in jail time. You can be jailed for up to 6 months, under the content of court charge.

There are also some cases where you may be placed in jail until a child support payment is paid. This occurs when a person is criminally prosecuted and convicted of a felony. Our team of highly qualified family attorneys at Affordablelegalhelp.com can provide you with solid legal support. We want to fight for what is in the best interest of our children.

 Recommended Read: WHEN DOES CHILD SUPPORT END IN TEXAS?

WHAT HAPPENS IF I NEVER PAY CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS?

If you have not been making child support payments because you disagree with your child support payments, you must take action immediately. The first thing that you must do is hire a child support lawyer who will repeat the fact that simply ceasing to make court-ordered payments is not within your best interests. Our team of Certified Lawyers at Affordablelegalhelp.com can assist you in seeking a modification of a support order.

 

HOW FAR BEHIND ON CHILD SUPPORT BEFORE JAIL IN TEXAS?

You may be put in jail for up to six months for not paying child support in Texas. Under Texas law, the reason for putting a non-custodial parent in jail is contempt of court. Contempt of court means that you failed to follow a court order.

Under Texas law, a judge can hold you responsible for contempt of court and place you in jail for up to six months for not following the court orders to pay child support in Texas. You could also be held accountable for the violation of the Texas Penal Code 25.05, according to which it is a state jail felony to "intentionally" fail to provide court-ordered child support for a child under 18. This is also referred to as criminal nonsupport. A state jail felony is punishable by up to six months to two years in a state jail facility and a maximum $10,000 fine.

 You may read also: Retroactive Child Support Texas

HOW MUCH CHILD SUPPORT CAN YOU OWE BEFORE GOING TO JAIL IN TEXAS?

The charge can increase to a criminal felony and up to two years in prison when child support in Texas hasn't been paid in two years or the amount owed reaches $10,000 or more. Child support enforcement must begin at the state or local level before proceeding to a federal court.

 

HOW MUCH BACK CHILD SUPPORT IS A FELONY IN TEXAS?

Under Texas law, a judge can find a non-custodial parent in contempt of court and place him/her in jail for up to six months for not following a court order to pay child support in Texas. Texas child support laws do not support child support evaders. People who refuse or fail to pay child support in Texas can go to jail for up to two years and pay thousands of dollars in fines in addition to the child support they owe.

Don't wait any longer, Affordablelegalhelp.com provide you with the best child support lawyers, at a price you can afford, and be the right fit for your situation. We have the experience and a good reputation with child support cases in Texas.