Non-custodial parents must pay child support, the only exception is when parental rights are legally terminated. A parent is obligated to support their children regardless of disability, health complications, incarceration, or unemployment.
Consequences of Not Paying Child Support
If you are a noncustodial parent and you fall behind on your child support payments, you will be subject to the local child support agency’s collection efforts.
The local child support agency has many tools to enforce a child support order, such as:
- Wage garnishment
- Intercepting the parent’s federal tax refund
- Liens against the parent’s personal property
- Suspending the parent’s driver, professional, and recreational licenses
- Filing a lawsuit to enforce the child support order
If you are unemployed because you lost your job or because you are on workers’ compensation or Social Security Disability (SSD), you are expected to continue making your child support payments. If you cannot afford your current child support payments, it’s important to petition the court for a modification.
In Texas, a parent may be eligible for a downward modification if the order was last established or modified more than three years ago, if the monthly child support amount would differ by $100 or 20% from what would be ordered, or if there has been a substantial change in circumstances, such as a decrease in the noncustodial parent’s income. If you’re now unemployed, this could definitely count as a substantial change in circumstances in the court’s eyes.
Note: Child support is not retroactive. So, if your modification is approved by the court, your monthly obligation would only be reduced from the date the court made the order going forward. Therefore, it’s important to act fast. To get started, contact our divorce attorneys today!