What do I do if my ex spouse won’t pay child support?

Even if someone in Texas has a court order that requires them to pay child support or share visitation with a child, they may not follow the order. In these cases, the person seeking to have the order followed may bring the issue before the court and have the individual not following the order held in contempt of court, which puts them at risk for having to pay fines or spend time in jail.

If someone is held in contempt, even if jail time is ordered, the judge may suspend the sentence if child support is involved because time in jail may lead to the loss of a job, which could make it even more difficult for an individual to meet their financial obligations. In these instances, the judge will usually order the person to return to the court after a set period of time, and if they still have not met whatever requirements have been put in place, they are likely to end up in jail.

For the court to be able to enforce an order, it must be clear and use command language. If an order does not specify times, dates and amounts for child support payments or specific times and arrangements for visitation, the order must be clarified before someone can be held in contempt for failing to meet the requirements of the order.

When someone is looking to have a child support order or other family law order enforced, it is important to know what proof the individual might need to argue their case successfully and to be sure that an order is specific enough to be enforced by the court. A family law attorney may be able to explain the process involved as well as presenting someone’s case before a judge.

Source: Findlaw, “Texas Enforcement of Family Court Orders“, September 01, 2014