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How Do I Collect Past Due Child Support?

When couples with children separate, either parent may petition a family court to make orders for custody, visitation and support of the children.  Once the Court has ordered the payment of child support, it is critical that the parent ordered to pay timely pay all ordered amounts.  Failure to do so results in the children not having much-needed and well-deserved support.  Today's blog will address some of the tools that the custodial parent can use to enforce the payment of past due child support.


One of the most powerful tools in child support enforcement is the Court's ability to hold the delinquent parent in contempt of court and sentence him or her to jail.  A short jail sentence or even just the threat of going to jail causes most parents to comply with the child support order.  Importantly, the deadline to seek contempt is two years following the child's emancipation.


The family court has authority to order any employer of the non-custodial parent to withhold the child support from the parent's paycheck and send it to the custodial parent.  With timely issuance of a wage withholding order, the custodial parent doesn't have to worry about nonpayment of child support except in unusual circumstances such as loss of employment.


A child support lien can be sent to any bank or other institution that is holding assets on behalf of the non-custodial parent.  The bank is then required to freeze the account and is not allowed to disburse the funds to the non-custodial parent. The custodial parent can then submit a Notice of Levy, which requires the bank to send the money to the custodial parent as child support.


If the non-custodial parent owns property that is not exempt from collection, the custodial parent may obtain a judgment for the past due child support and execute on the judgment.  Most property in Texas is not exempt from execution, so this is a powerful tool.  If real estate is owned by the non-custodial parent, the custodial parent can seek a court order foreclosing on the property so that the property is sold and the proceeds paid to the custodial parent.

Christiansen Law Firm is committed to using its extensive experience to assist custodial parents with child collection matters.  The child support attorneys of Christiansen Law Firm can provide guidance in the most effective tools for collecting your past due child support.  Contact the Houston or San Antonio offices of Christiansen Law Firm for a free evaluation of your child support collection matter.

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