Child Support: What Happens if I Can’t Pay?

You fell in love with the man/woman of your dreams, had a beautiful wedding and then decided to start the family you always wanted. This is the life that many people in Texas and around the nation dream about. Yet, things can turn sour if a divorce occurs, especially after kids are in the picture.

If it has been determined that you will be the parent that provides child support, you must be able to afford it, otherwise you could be facing some very serious problems that could include jail time. However, to fully comprehend what could possibly happen if you don’t pay child support, it’s important to understand all aspects of it. At Barrera, Sanchez & Associates, P.C. of McAllen, we want to help you find the information you need to avoid any serious problems down the road.

If your child support matters are taking a toll on your life, the divorce attorneys of Barrera, Sanchez & Associates are ready to help. Give us a call today.

Potential Troubles

Parents are legally obligated to provide financial support to their child. Child support is the money that one parent provides to the other to help secure their child’s well-being. In most cases, the parent who does not have primary custody for the child is the one that is legally obliged to pay support. In Texas, if a noncustodial parent is expected to pay child support, the amount is determined by multiplying their net income by a statutory percentage.

According to our McAllen divorce attorney, Marcus C. Barrera, failure to pay child support could pose very serious legal problems.

“When a court orders you to pay child support, you must pay it. If you do not, then you are violating a court order and the judge may find you in contempt and either fine you or order you to jail until you pay your child support arrearage.”

Some other examples of what could happen if you fail to pay child support include:

  • The court may order your employer to deduct the money from your paycheck or unemployment benefits
  • Your license, sporting license or other professional licenses can be taken away
  • Your vehicle could be booted
  • Your tax refunds could be taken
  • Liens could potentially be placed on your property

Avoiding the Problem

Unfortunately, financial obstacles can sometimes make their way into your life, making it difficult for you to pay for child support. While this can occur through no fault of your own, it’s still highly important to immediately take action to avoid any legal repercussions.

“There may be several reasons why you cannot pay your child support. If your work situation has materially and substantially changed because you lost your job or have received a large cut in pay, then you may petition the court to modify your child support amount to reflect your lost income,” revealed Mr. Barrera.

While these reasons are significant and somewhat permanent, things can be entirely different if your failure to pay child support occurs as a result of a fleeting financial hiccup.

“If you cannot make your payment because of a temporary financial distress, then your best bet is to hire an attorney to come up with a payment plan to catch up with your child support arrearage and have it approved by the court,” Mr. Barrera said.

“You may also be able to directly visit with the Texas Attorney General’s office to come up with a plan to pay back the arrearage.”

Confusing Circumstances

There may be some instances where you’ll wonder if child support payments are still your responsibility. For example, perhaps your child is now living with you, which may make it seem as if the process is redundant. If this happens, the court should be notified immediately so that your child support order can be changed. Not doing so means you’ll still be required to make payments.

In some cases, parents feel like they shouldn’t pay child support because their child is living on their own or has turned 18. However, if this is the case for you, you must contact the court and seek its approval. Otherwise, you may still be required to make payments.

Legal Assistance When You Need It

If your divorce involved a child custody battle, chances are financial obligations for your kids will be involved. This situation can often be overwhelming, confusing and completely difficult to deal with, but you don’t have to do it alone. The McAllen divorce attorneys of Barrera Sanchez & Associates, P.C. are here to guide you through the child support process, answer the questions you may have and give you advice that will lead to the best solution.

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