Enforcing Child Support FAQs:
What happens if the spouse who is supposed to receive child support isn’t receiving it because the payor is not paying? What can be done to get the money?
You can file a child support enforcement action to enforce the terms of the underlying order, whether it’s an order establishing paternity whether it’s a divorce decree. The leverage you have here in Texas is that if someone fails to pay their child support then you have the right to ask a court to hold them in contempt. If they’re held in contempt, the court has the authority to put them in jail if they don’t pay their child support. And a lot of times, what our courts do is sentence somebody to jail time and then put them on community supervision or probation. And as a condition of that probation, order them to give them a repayment schedule for their child support.
There are also child support liens that can be filed with the County and you can try to collect on non-exempt property if, for instance, there are bank accounts out there then you can try to levy on those. You can also ask the court to suspend any licenses that have been issued by the State of Texas, such as a driver’s license or some other license. However, the courts may be hesitant to do that because, usually, it’s those licenses that allow people to go out and make money. If I can’t drive, I can’t get to work. If you suspend a professional license that I have through the State, then I can’t work in my primary job.
Contempt is probably the remedy that’s sought in about 99% of the cases, but there are several options available to a party who’s not receiving the child support that they were ordered to receive under a decree from our courts.