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What happens if I don't pay my child support?

Custodial parents in Texas and across the country depend on child support payments to help with the costs of raising a child. When the non-custodial parent does not make those payments, not only does this hurt the child, it also makes the non-custodial parent at risk for enforcement action from the state of Texas.

If child support payments are not made as ordered by the court, there are several enforcement actions that may be taken.

-- Income withholding: The state may require employers to withhold wages and send them to the Texas Child Support Division.

-- Liens may be filed against the noncustodial parent's assets.

-- Intercepting lottery winnings, federal income tax returns or other money that the noncustodial parent has coming in from federal or state sources.

-- Suspension of professional licenses, fishing and hunting licenses and even a noncustodial parent's driver's license.

-- A judge may also sentence a non-custodial parent in arrears on his or her child support to jail.

There are many instances in which a noncustodial parent is simply unable to make his or her child support payments. This might occur due to a job layoff or serious illness or injury. In cases such as these, the noncustodial parent may want to file for a modification of child support. Unfortunately, this will not usually absolve the noncustodial parent of payments that are in arrears, but it may lower the payments to a more manageable amount until the person's financial situation improves.

If filing a modification of child support is needed, an experienced family law attorney can provide more information.

Source: Attorney General of Texas, "Frequently Asked Questions" Dec. 20, 2014

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