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Penalties for Non-Payment of Child Support


In separation cases where a child is involved, it is common for a child support agreement to be drawn up between the principal guardian and non-custodial parent. This agreement portions a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income to the child’s medical, educational, and everyday needs. Although child support may later be modified to reflect the changing needs of those involved, the agreement is a binding court order that must be followed to avoid legal consequences. Under Texas law, failing to pay child support— or employing tactics to avoid child support when you have the means to make payments—can result in the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) holding you in contempt of court.

Possible Consequences for Violating Child Support Agreements

If a child support case is opened, payments are typically required until the child turns eighteen. In some cases where the child becomes financially independent or marries beforehand, the child can be emancipated from child support sooner. However, unless this situation arises, child support guidelines in Texas are fairly clear-cut—failure to make payments can result in the following penalties from the OAG:

  • Seizing the non-paying parent’s cash or liquid resources, such as their bank accounts
  • Enforcing an income withholding order that would withhold part of the non-paying parent’s income for both current and past due payments
  • Intercepting tax refunds
  • A lien can be placed against the non-paying parent’s real or personal property
  • Suspension of driver’s license, recreational license, or professional license
  • Possible jail time for contempt of court or a $500 fine for each violation

Additionally, the OAG can prevent the violator from leaving the country by blocking passport access. There is no statute of limitations where child support is concerned, so failure to adhere to the terms of the agreement can negatively affect the non-custodial parent’s life long-term.

Consult with a Houston Child Support Law Firm

Child support is an invaluable resource for fostering a healthy upbringing during a child’s most formative years. If you or someone you know is having issues with a non-custodial parent’s failure to comply with a child support agreement, or are having trouble making your payments, the legal team at Diggs & Sadler, may be able to help. Don’t hesitate to contact our Houston offices at (713) 766-5355 to discuss your options.

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