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Enforcing Texas child support orders

Many times, even after a parent has obtained a court order as part of a divorce decree mandating that the non-custodial parent pay child support, the non-custodial parent fails to make the required payments. Some Texas parents are unaware of what they can do in order to enforce a previously issued child support order against the non-paying parent.

Texas law provides a method through which a parent may notify the court of the delinquent parent's arrearage and to request the order be enforced. Parents can do so by filing a Motion for Enforcement with the court that issued the order and which has exclusive and continuing jurisdiction over the child support case.

The motion must include certain key pieces of information. The motion must specifically list the portion of the child support order requiring enforcement as well as the relief the person is seeking from the court. If the parent is seeking contempt proceedings against the other parent, the amount owed, the amount due and the date of each violation leading to contempt grounds must be included, as well as the portion of the order that has been violated. The motions must contain the total amount paid and the total amount due. For those receiving child support for a child who is receiving assistance under the Social Security Act, there are additional requirements for the enforcement motions.

Parents who are owed back child support as well as those who owe arrearages may benefit from speaking with a family law attorney. Parents who are owed may be able to obtain advice about potential relief options, such as garnishments, liens or contempt. Parents who are behind on support payments due to a financial inability to pay the ordered amount may be able to get help with filing a petition for a modification of the order.

Source: Texas Constitution and Statutes, "CHAPTER 157. ENFORCEMENT", October 31, 2014

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