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In July 2013, the Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Division teamed up with law enforcement to arrest 23 parents in Tarrant County who repeatedly failed to pay court-imposed child support to their former partners. To the parents arrested, the tactic seemed like a heavy-handed method for enforcing a court order. After all, there are many more delinquent parents, all across the state, whose child support payments are long overdue. On the other hand, others viewed the focused clamp-down as a potent warning to all delinquent parents — and strong ‘encouragement’ for them to settle up or face the same sanctions as those arrested in this case.
Sanctions for non-payment
To ensure that child support is paid according to divorce agreements and court orders, sanctions for non-payment are available. Child support may be taken directly from an obligor’s salary under a court imposed order on the obligor’s employer. Federal income tax refund checks may be intercepted to pay overdue child support obligations. Liens may also be filed against real property. Because child support is imposed by a court order, failure to pay also constitutes contempt of court — punishable by imprisonment and fines, depending on the severity of the circumstances.
Tough stance taken to deter delinquent parents
The dawn raids that netted the 23 offenders were part of a larger campaign by Attorney General of Texas, Greg Abbott, who considers it his moral and legal duty to ensure parents do not fall behind on their child support payments. However, Abbott is not only focused on the enforcement side — his office also runs a helpline for parents who have problems making payments.
If you are owed child support by a former spouse or are having difficulty paying child support, contact the Bernsen Law Firm in Beaumont, Texas. Our family law attorneys provide the first consultation for free.
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