A parent is responsible for financially supporting their child until they reach adulthood. Even if their child does not live with them or lives with them for only part of the time, the parent is still responsible for ensuring the child has access to food, shelter, clothing, and medical care at all times.
When a parent neglects their duty to provide child support, they are harming their child and breaking the law. An attorney could help the co-parent who is not receiving the correct amount of child support, per the court’s order, to bring legal action to force payment. If your co-parent is violating the terms of a child support order, consult a child support enforcement lawyer in The Colony to explore your legal options.
According to Texas Family Code §154.001, a child has a legal right to their parent’s support until they turn 18 or graduate from high school. A parent may not use child support payments as a weapon if they do not like the visitation schedule, believe the other parent is misusing the funds, or are dissatisfied with the quality of the relationship with their child.
Sometimes, a parent may experience financial hardship that impacts their ability to pay according to a child support order. In such cases, they could request a modification of the order. However, they may not simply cease paying or unilaterally decide to pay less than they owe.
If the paying parent is not meeting their child support obligations, the receiving parent has several legal options. A child support enforcement attorney in The Colony could review the parent’s case and determine the best strategy in their specific circumstances.
The Texas Attorney General’s Office provides child support enforcement services through its Child Support Division (CSD). The CSD can:
Notifying the CSD of a parent’s child support arrears is wise, but it usually takes some time for CSD actions to produce the payment. Turning to the courts to enforce the child support order may result in more timely access to the funds owed.
A family law attorney in The Colony could help a parent file a family court petition asking for enforcement of the child support order. If the filing parent can prove the other parent’s arrears, the judge could order them to pay what is owed to the filing parent, plus interest, court costs, and attorney fees. If the parent in arrears does not have a legally acceptable reason for falling behind in their child support, or if they have a pattern of falling into arrears, a judge could hold them in contempt of court and sentence them to jail. From there, the court may require the parent in arrears to pay some or all the amount as a condition of release from jail.
A parent may claim that they have experienced a financial setback that impairs their ability to pay child support. As a result, they might pressure the receiving parent to accept less or no support.
If the paying parent is otherwise compliant, and the receiving parent knows or believes that the paying parent’s hardship is valid, the parents could develop a modified child support plan with a mediator. The receiving parent should have a child support enforcement attorney from The Colony present during the mediation or review to ensure they do not inadvertently give up any rights.
If the paying parent has a history of non-compliance or irresponsibility, or if the receiving parent does not believe the paying parent’s claim of hardship, the receiving parent may insist the paying parent go to court to seek a modification. A court will not permit child support modification without convincing evidence that the paying parent lacks the resources to support the child as originally agreed.
Children have a right to financial support. Any parent who denies them this right may face serious repercussions and damage their relationship with their child. If your co-parent is not complying with a child support order, it is important to know that you have legal options.
Let an experienced child support enforcement lawyer in The Colony help you act in your child’s best interests. Schedule a case review with a compassionate attorney today.
Our Law Firm’s approach to your case is based on individual circumstances. Whether it is a simple negotiated settlement, or it requires an aggressive approach, we will protect and defend your best interests.