Child support enforcement attorneys represent clients in Tarrant County and Dallas County child support actions. A court order for child support gives you the right to collect child support from the obligor. (The parent responsible for paying child support.) Unfortunately not all obligors pay the ordered child support. It can be frustrating when obligor refuses to pay the child support while you provide financial support for your children.
What is a child support enforcement under the Texas Family Code?
Under the Texas Family Code, an obligee (the parent receiving child support) may bring a child support enforcement against the obligor to enforce the child support obligation and pursue remedies to collect past due and current child support obligations. An enforcement proceeding for child support is typically a contempt proceeding because contempt provides the greatest range of remedies for the obligee.
Although a parent owed child support could file an enforcement on his or her own, most parents hire a child support enforcement attorney. Family law attorneys who represent clients in child support enforcement are familiar with the remedies available, the procedures and defenses.
Collecting in a child support enforcement attorney in Fort Worth or Dallas, Texas
A child support enforcement action can request and obtain remedies for a child support arrearage including:
- Civil money judgment
- Fines and other penalties
- Additional income withholding orders
- Property liens
- Losses of state-issued licenses (including driver’s licenses and professional licenses)
Often the threat of probation or jail time is sufficient to convince the obligor to find money that supposedly did not exist and get the support obligation current.
In cases where the child support arrearage is significant the obligor rarely has enough money on hand to pay off the arrears and some combination of financial remedies are necessary to try to pay off the arrears and bring the child support obligation current.
Why hire a Dallas or Fort Worth child support enforcement lawyer
Figuring out the right combination of remedies to request is not always easy. Obligors often hide assets and have many dishonest excuses why they cannot pay child support. A child support enforcement attorney who understands the available remedies can assess the situation and determine the right combination.
Should I pursue a child support enforcement in Tarrant or Dallas County?
Generally you should pursue a child support enforcement as soon as child support begins to go unpaid. An obligor refusing to pay child support can develop the idea that nothing will happen if child support goes unpaid. Then he or she will make no effort to pay into the future. The greater the arrearage the harder it will be to collect. It is typically better to train the obligor to uphold his or her obligations.
Sometimes all it takes to resolve a small arrearage is to work out an arrangement with the obligor. People change jobs or lose jobs; unless a new withholding order is issued it is very easy for the obligor to miss some payments. The obligor may not know that payments must go directly to the OAG to maintain support.
Not every missed child support payment is an intentional act to avoid a child support obligation. However, if more than a couple months have gone by it is probably not a situation resolved without at least hiring a child support enforcement attorney to write a demand letter and scare the obligor into catching up.
Large amounts of unpaid child support in Texas
If you already have a large arrearage of thousands of dollars then you likely need to file an enforcement. (And file sooner rather than later.) I know some people have the idea that pursuing unpaid child support somehow excuses the absence of a deadbeat parent. Payment of a court ordered support obligation has no bearing on whether a person is a bad parent. The obligor can pay all the child support ordered and still be a terrible parent.
I can understand the pride in raising a child by yourself without the help of a bad parent. It is great if you can afford to support yourself and your children by yourself. However, that child support could be set aside into a great head start into adulthood for your children.
Remedies for small amounts of unpaid child support in Dallas or Tarrant County
A child support enforcement action can be effective at creating a meaningful solution to a child support arrearage even if the unpaid child support is only a month or two of support payments. There are defenses available to obligors in child support enforcement proceedings and judges have a certain amount of leeway in the remedies ordered but most judges in Tarrant County, Dallas County and surrounding counties are very stern in enforcing child support orders and ordering whatever remedies are necessary.
Often it is a good idea to bring an enforcement action when the obligor drops a month or two behind on child support payments without a good reason for the lack of payment because it is easy for the obligor to develop a bad habit of not paying support and accruing a large arrearage. Contact Fort Worth divorce attorney Adam Kielich to discuss the arrearage in your case.
How can I bring a child support enforcement in Fort Worth or Dallas, Texas?
A child support enforcement action can be brought in two different ways: through a public agency or a private action. An obligee can request an appropriate child support agency bring the enforcement on their behalf or the obligee can file for enforcement through the normal family courts process like any other private litigation.