What Are The Penalties For Failing To Pay Child Support In Texas?

The State of Texas takes failing to pay child support very seriously; you can face several different types of penalties. These penalties include contempt, liens/foreclosures, suspension of licenses and child support liens.

Failure to pay child support obligations is punishable by coercive and punitive contempt. A motion for enforcement by contempt can be filed with the court. A motion for enforcement may be filed by the parent to whom the child support obligation is owed or by the Office of Attorney General. If the court finds the non-paying party to be guilty, they face incarceration for up to six months, fines and paying attorney’s fees. If a nonpaying party fails to make an appearance at an enforcement hearing, the court may issue a capias, which is a warrant for arrest.

Parents who fail to pay child support can also face the following penalties:

  • Suspension of driver’s license
  • Denial of tax refunds or other government benefits
  • Garnishment of wages
  • Liens placed against real property
  • Denial of hunting, boating or professional licenses
  • Jail Sentence
  • Probation
  • Fines and Court Costs
  • Attorney Fees

A court may find a party in contempt and sentence them to jail but suspend the sentence and place a party on community supervision. Provisions of such probation can include a payment schedule for making up owed support as well as the requirement that all support payments be made on time. Should a party fail to follow the terms of probation, it may be revoked and that party ordered to serve the originally ordered jail time.

About Mary E. Ramos

Mary is an experienced family law attorney recognized and respected throughout the Houston legal community for dedication in effectively representing clients' rights and interests. Mary understands the emotional side of divorce and brings a special compassion to each and every case.
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