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Is there anything you can do if an ex won't pay child support?

When you go through a divorce, you know there are significant financial changes in store for you and your loved ones. You may have to find a new place to live and adjust to new circumstances in virtually every area of your life. Making this transition and learning to depend on your income alone can be difficult, which is one reason why child support is so important. 

The intent of child support is to provide custodial parents with the additional financial support they need to care for their children. This is to help you with costs that include day care, medical needs, extracurricular activities and other expenses that you may incur as a result of raising children. You may depend heavily on this support, and it can be devastating when the other parents refuses to pay.

What can you do?

If the other parent will not pay child support, you may wonder if there is anything you can actually do to get what you need. Should you confront that person and demand payment? Should you keep him or her from having access to your kids until he or she pays? Taking matters into your own hands is probably not the best answer, but there are some specific things you can do seek enforcement of your support order.

There is a federal act, The Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984, that gives you legal grounds to pursue enforcement of a court-mandated child support order. This act says that a district attorney can act on your behalf, doing specific things to hold the other parent accountable and compel him or her to pay. Some of the things that the DA can do to get the other parent to pay support include:

  • Serve the other parent with papers that demand payment
  • Withholding tax returns
  • Seizing his or her personal property
  • Garnishing a portion of his or her wages
  • Suspending his or her occupational licenses necessary for work
  • Revoking that person's driver's license

In Texas, the Office of the Attorney General routinely attempts to enforce child support orders. The specific thing that the Office of the Attorney General may do to compel payment or secure funds depends on the details of the individual situation. Enforcement of support orders is a complicated issue, and you may find significant benefit in working with an experienced Board-certified expert Family Law attorney in Collin County, Dallas County, Denton County or elsewhere throughout Texas, who can explain your options, help you protect your rights and allow you to get what you need to care for and support your children.

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