Child Support Arrears
In Texas, parents have a legal obligation to provide financial support for their children. As such, many parents who share custody of a child will ask the court to determine their rights and obligations with regard to child support. Child support orders are binding, and when parties fail to abide by the terms of such orders and fall behind in payments, the amounts owed accrue and become arrears. If you are owed support from your co-parent or an action seeking child support arrears has been instituted against you, it is smart to consult an attorney about your options. The assertive Dallas child support attorneys of McClure Law Group are adept at handling contentious disputes, and if we represent you, we will fight tirelessly on your behalf.Child Support Arrears
Arrears is the legal term used to refer to unpaid or overdue child support. Child support arrears will accrue when a parent neglects to make support payments in compliance with a child support order. Arrears can also be assessed for retroactive support. Arrears are owed in addition to regular child support payments, and the amount in arrears cannot be modified. The only way to prevent arrears is by consistently paying 100% of the required child support every month.
It is important to note that arrears continue to exist until they are fully paid off. Even events like the child reaching the age of 18, incarceration, or filing for bankruptcy will not eliminate the outstanding balance of unpaid child support. Further, arrears accumulate with a simple interest rate of 6% per year, and any payments made are first applied to the principal balance. Thus, it is critical for people that owe child support arrears to pay them down as quickly as possible.Collecting Child Support Arrears
A party seeking overdue child support can file a motion for enforcement of child support and request a money judgment for arrears. The motion must contain certain information, including the dates of each missed payment and the total amount owed by your ex-spouse in child support. The court will then hold a hearing, during which it will review evidence from both parties, after which it will determine whether any payments were missed and, if so, whether there were valid reasons for the lapse.
If the court determines that the parent had the ability to make payments but deliberately failed to do so, it may take actions such as placing a lien on the parent's property, ordering income withholding, finding the parent in contempt of court, and imposing fines or jail time.
If a court mandates income withholding to address child support arrears, the withheld amount must either be sufficient to fully settle the arrears within two years, or it must be an additional 20% on top of the current monthly support, whichever option allows for quicker repayment of the arrears. The court has the discretion to extend the time period for arrears repayment, however, if it determines that the two-year timeframe would impose an unreasonable hardship on the party, their family, or the children involved.
The Child Support Division of the Texas Office of the Attorney General aids parents in the pursuit of child support arrears as well. The Attorney General employs various methods to collect arrears, including placing liens on bank accounts or properties, intercepting federal income tax returns, garnishing social security retirement benefits, and seizing civil settlements, insurance payouts, and lottery winnings.Meet With a Seasoned Dallas Attorney
The failure to pay child support ultimately harms the child that is the subject of the support order, and parents that are owed child support arrears will often take legal action to protect their child’s interests. If you need assistance with a child support dispute, you should meet with a lawyer to evaluate your options as soon as possible. The seasoned Dallas child support attorneys of McClure Law Group understand the emotional and legal challenges that can arise in child support actions, and if we represent you, we will diligently pursue a just outcome. We regularly represent people in family-law disputes in Dallas, Richardson, McKinney, Rockwall, Irving, Fort Worth, Garland, Frisco, and other cities within Dallas, Rockwall, Grayson, Collin, Denton, and Tarrant Counties. You can reach us through our online form or by calling us at 214.692.8200 to set up a consultation.