If you’re paying child support under an existing Texas court order, you know these orders are strictly enforced and constantly monitored for violations by the Office of the Texas Attorney General and other local reporting agencies.
Texas doesn’t have a debtor’s prison, but you can go to jail if you fail to pay your child support.
Note This One Fact Now!
If you read no further, know that your existing orders requiring you to pay child support continue in effect until modified by a subsequent order or put another way, the Attorney General’s computer doesn’t know or care that you’ve lost your job.
So how can you protect yourself when you can’t pay your child support?
File to Modify
Immediate relief may not be available as Courts have ground to a halt and will be working through a massive backlog for months to come.
At the least, you can file to modify your existing child support in the same court that issued the original order.
While your obligation to pay continues and you may be incurring a child support arrearage, acknowledging your need for relief may serve you well in negotiating a support settlement when you finally do get to court.
Seek out Financial Relief
Stay abreast of government programs being rolled-out to provide financial relief for the newly unemployed.
If our government is smart, additional relief will be forthcoming and you can use these funds to help support your children.
If you currently have a support arrearage that is on record with the Attorney General, expect that any stimulus payment due you from the government will be intercepted prior to reaching your bank.
If your spouse owes child support, your stimulus payment will also be intercepted and it will be up to you to file an innocent spouse claim to recover money due to you.
Don’t Ignore Communications from the Attorney General
If you receive a communication from the AG, open and read it – now!
With courts being closed, the AG is trying to pivot to negotiation conferences over child support by remote means.
You may have a chance to participate in one of these conferences and negotiate a reduction or suspension of your child support obligation.
Will the AG Grow a Heart in a Pandemic?
The State of Texas doesn’t want to pay to raise your children, which is why the AG has developed a sophisticated and aggressive machine built to set and collect child support.
For 40 years, the AG has taken the approach that “the numbers don’t lie” when collecting support.
Whether the calamity of COVID-19 and record unemployment forces the AG to find realistic child support solutions remains an open question.
Let’s Talk About You
If you’ve been a victim of mass unemployment, call us to discuss your specific situation.
To help in these times, we’re offering free 15-minute strategy sessions so you can get your questions answered without worry.
Don't live with the stress of past-due child support – let the attorneys with Schreier & Housewirth help you with this problem.
Schreier & Housewirth Family Law
1329 College Avenue, Suite 100
Fort Worth TX 76104
Gregory L. Housewirth is a Board-Certified Family Law Specialist practicing in Fort Worth Texas. With 30 years of family law experience, Mr. Housewirth has represented hundreds of clients in divorce, custody, CPS, modification, and grandparent cases. In addition, Mr. Housewirth is a qualified family law mediator and a member of Collaborative Law Texas, a practice group dedicated to promoting collaborative divorce in Texas.