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What Can I Do if My Ex Isn’t Paying Their Child Support? 

Robin Scott Law Firm, PLLC  June 10, 2024

Child support provides essential resources needed for a child's well-being, covering everything from daily necessities to educational expenses. Unfortunately, there are times when an ex-partner may fail to meet their child support obligations, leaving the custodial parent stressed and financially strained. 

When your ex-partner doesn’t pay their child support, it can compound the pressure you’re already experiencing. If you find yourself facing such circumstances, Attorney Robin Scott of Robin Scott Law Firm, PLLC, in Spring, Texas, is here to help.

She offers comprehensive guidance on child support matters, serving clients throughout Harris County, Montgomery County, and Fort Bend County. Contact her firm today to schedule a consultation and learn more about your options for legal recourse and exploring alternative options.

Actions for Addressing Child Support Non-Payment

When dealing with an ex-spouse who refuses to pay child support, taking systematic and well-informed steps can help you protect your rights and promote the well-being of your child.  

The following guide outlines the necessary actions you can take, as well as behaviors to avoid, to effectively address non-payment issues without jeopardizing your case: 

1. Document All Missed Payments 

  • Maintain a detailed log of missed payments, including the dates and amounts due. Utilize financial software or a simple spreadsheet for accuracy. 

  • Save all correspondence with your ex-spouse regarding child support, including text messages, emails, and letters. This documentation can serve as evidence in legal proceedings. 

2. Calculate Outstanding Payments 

  • Carefully calculate the total amount of outstanding child support. Include any interest or penalties that may apply based on your court order. 

  • Refer to the Texas Child Support Guidelines to achieve accurate calculations and adhere to legal requirements. 

3. Contact the Texas Child Support Division 

  • Reach out to the Texas Attorney General's Office, Child Support Division, which has various tools to enforce child support orders, including wage garnishment, tax refund interceptions, and license suspensions. 

  • Complete any required forms and provide the necessary documentation to initiate enforcement actions. 

4. File a Motion for Enforcement in Family Court 

  • Work with a family law attorney to file a motion for enforcement in your local family court. This legal document requests the court to enforce the original child support order. 

  • Attend the hearing prepared with all relevant documentation and evidence. The judge will assess the situation and may impose penalties on the non-compliant parent. 

5. Utilize Contempt Proceedings 

  • If your ex-partner continues to refuse payment, the court may find them in contempt, leading to fines or incarceration. This strong legal measure often compels compliance. 

Regardless of the circumstances of your situation, enlisting the help of a family law attorney in your area is crucial for successfully enforcing child support payments. They can guide you through the legal process and advocate on your behalf to ensure that your children receive the financial support they deserve.  

Consequences for Non-Payment

Texas law imposes significant consequences for failing to pay child support. Some of the common penalties may include: 

  • Wage garnishment: The court may order the non-compliant parent’s employer to withhold a portion of their wages to cover overdue child support. 

  • License suspension: Non-payment can result in the suspension of various licenses, including driver's licenses, professional licenses, and even hunting or fishing licenses. 

  • Contempt of court: Persistent refusal to pay child support may lead to the non-custodial parent being held in contempt of court, potentially resulting in fines or jail time. 

What Not to Do if Child Support Payments Aren't Being Made

Do not make informal agreements for child support without court approval. Changes to the support amount or terms must be legally documented to be enforceable. 

Do not withhold visitation. Child support and visitation rights are separate legal issues. Withholding visitation can be seen as a violation of the court order and may negatively affect the outcome of your case. 

Do not resort to unauthorized methods such as withholding property or harassing the non-paying parent. These actions can lead to legal repercussions against you. 

Alternative Solutions: Mediation and Negotiation

While legal enforcement is a robust approach, sometimes less confrontational methods like mediation and negotiation can yield positive results.  

Mediation involves a neutral third party who helps you and your ex reach an amicable agreement regarding overdue child support.  

Negotiation, on the other hand, can involve direct communication between both parties to settle the arrears without escalating the issue legally. 

Contact Robin Scott Law Firm, PLLC for Your Child Support Case

While dealing with an ex who isn’t paying their child support can cause great emotional and financial stress, understanding your legal options and exploring alternative solutions can help.  

With the right support and resources, it’s possible to address these challenges effectively. Attorney Robin Scott is dedicated to assisting single parents in Spring, Texas, and throughout Harris, Montgomery, and Fort Bend counties.  

For personalized advice and professional assistance, contact Robin Scott Law Firm, PLLC. Remember, you are not alone. There are avenues available to help you and your child receive the support you deserve. Reach out today to schedule an initial consultation.