Child support arises in divorces and in suits affecting the parent-child relationship. In these cases, the court orders the parent not designated as the primary conservator to pay child support (usually monthly) and to maintain health insurance for the children. Chapter 154.125 of the Texas Family Code contains statutory guidelines for the amount of child support that this parent has to pay and it is based upon the amount of net resources that this parent has as well as the number of children that need the support. It starts out at 20% and then goes up in 5% increments–1 child = 20% of the obligor’s net resources, 2 children = 25% of the obligor’s net resources, and so forth. However, there can also be reasons that the court would deviate from this guideline and order the obligor (parent paying child support) to pay more or less than this. For instance, the Texas Family Code permits higher child support when a child has special physical or mental needs. For example, if the child has severe asthma and allergies which require allergy shots and medication or if the child has a learning disability and requires educational services. When the court does deviate from the guidelines, the judge must state in the orders the reason for doing so. The person ordered to pay child support must do so, as stated in the Texas Family Code Section 154.006, until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school.
Let’s say that you’ve been to court, you’ve gotten your divorce decree or final order from the court laying out all the rules that the parties must follow and it’s a few months later or maybe a year, and the obligor has yet to pay a dime in child support. In fact, a rising issue in Texas, particularly in the Kaufman County and East Texas regions, is parents refusing to pay the child support they owe–you can tell them how much they owe until you’re blue in the face, and they still won’t pay. So, you call your attorney at Guest & Gray, and they tell you the options of how to get your ex to pay.
When someone is delinquent in their child support, it’s called arrearages. There are several things a court can do to that person. In fact, there are a few options authorized by the Texas Family Code.
First of all, there can be mandatory withholding of wages. This basically means that the court will send an order to your ex’s employer with the percentage that should be withheld from their take-home pay. It can also apply to severance pay and bonuses. Second, if the obligor is 3 months or more delinquent in paying child support, the court can order suspension of a license which could be his/her driver’s license or professional license. Third, your attorney can seek a money judgment on your behalf. That is, you look at the total amount of child support that your ex hasn’t paid, and the court will then order your ex to pay. And, there are several ways that this judgment can be enforced. In fact, the only way for them to get out of the judgment is to pay. Finally, if the final order included a child support obligation, then the court can hold the obligor in contempt which means that he/she could be facing up to 6 months in jail, a $500 fine, or both.
Thus, there are several avenues that your attorney could seek to enforce a child support order. Don’t waste time; get the child support owed to your children today.