Help With Receiving Unpaid Child Support in Texas

By Heather Frances J.D.

During divorces, Texas courts issue child-support orders to direct the noncustodial parent to pay a certain amount of support for his children. If the noncustodial parent does not pay the support as ordered, it can be difficult for the custodial parent to return to court for help enforcing the order. However, the Texas Attorney General has resources to help custodial parents collect the child support they are owed.

Office of the Attorney General

The Child Support Division of the Office of the Attorney General is available to help custodial parents enforce child-support orders and collect regular and unpaid support payments. Custodial parents can apply for these services on the Attorney General’s website or by requesting that the office mail an application form. The Child Support Division may require a copy of the divorce decree and existing support order as part of the application, along with additional information such as the noncustodial parent’s Social Security number.

Location Services

If the custodial parent knows where the noncustodial parent lives and works, it may not be difficult for her to get the noncustodial parent to pay as ordered. However, if the custodial parent cannot locate the noncustodial parent, the Attorney General provides a range of services that include locating the noncustodial parent using government resources. Once the noncustodial parent is located, the Attorney General can pursue collection of court-ordered support.

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Income Withholding

Typically, court orders contain instructions for the noncustodial parent’s employer to collect child-support payments directly from the noncustodial parent’s pay and send that money to the state for distribution to the custodial parent. The Attorney General can use income withholding to collect past-due payments, too. Employers who do not properly deduct income and report it to the state face penalties for violating Texas law.

Other Enforcement

The Attorney General has other options to help a custodial parent collect past- due support and enforce support orders. For example, the Attorney General can intercept a noncustodial parent's federal tax refund and file liens against his property. The noncustodial parent’s state-issued licenses can be suspended, including his driver’s license and professional licenses. The Attorney General may help the custodial parent go back to court to have the judge enter a contempt-of- court judgment against the noncustodial parent, and the court can put the noncustodial parent in jail.

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How to Request Arrears for Child Support in Texas
 

References

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Definition of Unassigned Arrears in Child Support

Arrears in child support is a term that refers to past due child support owed to a custodial parent. Sometimes, the government assigns the arrears owed to a custodial parent to the state, for repayment of any public assistance the custodial parent received. Whether a custodial parent's arrears are assigned or unassigned depends on whether she received public assistance.

How to Request a Child Support Order Be Decreased in Texas

If you lose your job, you become ill or your child's healthcare expenses go down, courts in Texas may decrease the amount of child support ordered. However, Texas courts can only change your obligation to make future payments, not missed payments you already owe. You must act quickly if you find that you cannot make your payments to avoid falling far behind.

How to File With the Attorney General to Increase Child Support in the State of Texas

When you divorced, the court likely based your child support order on your income and your ex-spouse's income at the time, but you can pursue an increase in child support payments if your circumstances have changed, especially if your ex-spouse's income has increased significantly. In Texas, you can ask the court to modify your child support amount or the Office of the Attorney General's Child Support Review Process can help you with modification.

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