Paying child support is a financial obligation that many parents would prefer to avoid. Some see it as a punishment; others would simply rather have more time with their child. Some parents experience events that make paying child support all but impossible. For these and other reasons, a parent may miss child support payments.
However, failing to pay child support can result in several serious consequences.
Penalties for delinquency
If you do not pay child support, the Office of the Attorney General can utilize various methods to enforce the order for support. Some ways it may do this include:
- Suspension of driver’s, professional and recreational licenses
- New or renewed passport denials
- Liens on property and bank accounts
- Reporting past-due amount to credit agencies
- Interception of lottery winnings
It is also possible that a person could face contempt of court actions. Contempt means that a person has not complied with a court order, and there can be civil and criminal penalties. These include fines and jail time.
Other penalties to consider
In addition to the enforcement measures mentioned above, a parent can experience other consequences of failing to pay child support. Perhaps most troubling is the strain it can cause on the parent-child relationship. Without financial support from a parent, a child may not get the things he or she needs, which can be devastating. It can also cause or reinforce negative feelings a child has for a parent.
Further, delinquency can be embarrassing when employers, colleagues and friends learn about it. And in some cases, the courts can publicly identify a non-paying parent as a Child Support Evader.
Getting help to get back on track
To avoid these consequences, parents ordered to pay child support should make their payments on time and in full every month.
If this becomes impossible or if there are reasons why you may miss payments, parents would be wise to address the situation as quickly as possible. Potential solutions could include child support modifications, job placement or training programs, and help from the Child Support Division in Texas.