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What Happens if I Don’t Pay Child Support in Texas?

In a divorce involving minor children, child support is at play. Child support is given from the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. It is meant to help the other parent pay for a child’s basic needs, including food, clothing, housing, medical needs, education, child care, transportation, entertainment, and extracurricular activities. 

The child support amount is based on both parents’ income. This amount is typically paid monthly until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. For a disabled child, child support payments may be for an indefinite time. 

Child support payments are often the topic of dispute. The custodial parent needs the payments to help with bills and other necessities. In many cases, though, the noncustodial parent doesn’t pay up. They may need more money. Others feel that they shouldn’t have to make payments because the other parent may use this money for themselves instead of the children. 

While these are valid issues, they are not enough for a parent to simply avoid their financial obligation to their child. A parent cannot simply refuse to pay child support. 

Child support is a court order. When a parent does not obey this court order, they can face various penalties. Here’s a look at them.

Penalties for Nonpayment of Child Support

Under Texas Penal Code Section 25.05, nonpayment of child support is a state felony offense, which can lead to a sentence of six months to two years in jail. This means you could go to jail for not paying child support, but more than likely, the state will attempt other methods first.

For example, wage garnishment is often attempted. The state will withhold child support payments from the noncustodial parent’s paycheck. The order is sent to an employer, and they will adjust the payment accordingly. The noncustodial parent cannot avoid their child support payments under a wage garnishment. 

License revocation is another possible penalty. Under the Texas Family Code, failure to pay child support can lead to the revocation or suspension of any license that the parent has. This could include a driver’s license, business license, hunting license, or professional license, such as one that a doctor, accountant, or lawyer would have.

The state can also intercept tax refunds and lottery winnings. A parent who owes more than $2,500 in child support payments is not eligible to receive a United States passport, so they cannot leave the country. 

Contact Us Today

Paying child support is not an option. If you don’t do it, you could face various penalties, including jail time. If you have trouble meeting your child support obligations, talk to The Law Office of David J. Rodriguez, PLLC. We can assess your situation and help you understand your options, including filing a modification. Schedule a consultation with our office today by calling (210) 716-0726 or completing the online form.