There are many ways to enforce child-support orders in Texas. Here is a listing of the top five methods used by attorneys.
5. Judicial writ of withholding.
This method is used when the obligor's (one who owes) is behind in their child support in an amount that is greater than or equal to the total support for one month OR if a wage withholding was not ordered at the time child support was originally set. A judicial writ of withholding deducts current child support and child-support arrearage (back child support) is taken our directly from the wages of the parent who owes. Obviously if the obligor's is self-employed, this method won't do any good, but if the obligor's gets a paycheck- this method can be very useful.
4. Levy on financial institutions.
This method applies when the obligor's misses a child-support payment and the obligor's has some property. This method places a lien on any real or personal property that is owned by the obligor's. There are some limits on this method because some kinds of property are exempt.
3. License suspension.
This method can be used if the obligor's is in arrears in the amount equal to or greater than three months of support AND the obligor's has been given the opportunity to make payments under a repayment schedule AND the obligor is not keeping that repayment schedule. This method is really a "nuclear option" and so as you can see there are several conditions that have to be met before a judge will order it. However, it can be a VERY effective method to get the obligor's attention if they repeatedly fail to pay child support.
2. Levy on financial institutions.
This method is also very effective to get the attention of an obligor because it freezes the obligor's financial accounts until the financial institution pays the child-support arrearages from the accounts. This method can be tricky because you have to first have the amounts owed judicially determined AND to be effective, you need to know which accounts have money in them- which can be difficult to determine.
This is the most common, and often the most effective method. This is used any time an obligor misses a payment or makes a late or partial payment. It subjects the obligor to incarceration (jail time), community supervision and/or payment of a fine. There are two kinds of contempt- civil and criminal and you should talk to an attorney about which method is the best to do what you want- which is to get the obligor to pay.
When seeking to enforce a child support order, obliges (parents owed the money) have to be aware that there are often strict deadlines that have to be followed. It is important to IMMEDIATELY seek the assistance of licensed family law attorney to make sure that you don't miss your deadlines.
For more information, you can contact us at www.thepalmerlawfirm.com.
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Attorney Sean Y. Palmer has over 20 years of legal experience as a Texas Attorney and over 25 years as a Qualified Mediator in civil, family and CPS cases. Palmer practices exclusively in the area Family Law and handles Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Adoptions, and other Family Law Litigation cases. He represents clients throughout the greater Houston Galveston area, including: Clear Lake, NASA, Webster, Friendswood, Seabrook, League City, Galveston, Texas City, Dickinson, La Porte, La Marque, Clear Lake Shores, Bacliff, Kemah, Pasadena, Baytown, Deer Park, Harris County, and Galveston County, Texas.