May 24th, 2010
POSSIBLE PENALTIES FOR NOT PAYING CHILD SUPPORT
The state of Texas has enacted numerous enforcement mechanisms to ensure that child support payments are paid. If they are not paid, or they are untimely, then there can be serious consequences. A basic overview of some of the child support enforcement mechanisms are listed below.
After notice and hearing, a court order for child support may be enforced by contempt, punishable by confinement in the county jail for up to six months, a $500 fine, or both. If the contemptor fails to appear for the hearing, a capias (a writ authorizing custody) can be issued for their arrest. The capias is treated the same as a misdemeanor arrest warrant, meaning that law enforcement officials can arrest the respondent if they encounter him in the regular course of their duties (i.e. traffic violation).
Suspension of Driver’s License, Hunting or Fishing License, Occupational or Professional License
A court can issue an “order suspending license” if the person who owes child support (1) is three months in arrears; (2) has been provided an opportunity to make payments toward arrearages under an agreed repayment schedule; and (3) has failed to comply with the repayment schedule. This procedure is available with respect to a delinquent obligor’s driver’s license, hunting or fishing license, and license to engage in a profession, occupation, or business. The statute lists 56 state agencies that grant licenses that are subject to suspension for non-support. The list of professions and activities affected is global, and includes attorneys, barbers, CPA’s, chiropractors, doctors, liquor store owners, nurses, optometrists, realtors, and plumbers.
Delinquent Obligor Cannot Obtain State Grants, Loans, or Contracts
An obligor who is more than 30 days delinquent on child support, and a business entity of which the delinquent obligor is a sole proprietor, partner, shareholder, or owner with more than a 25% interest, is not eligible to receive loans, grants, or contracts from the state of Texas.
Money Judgment for Child Support Arreages
Any periodic child support payment not timely made automatically constitutes a final judgement for the amount due and owing. Upon motion, after notice and hearing, the court shall confirm the amount of child support in arrears and shall enter an order against the obligor for the amount determined, plus attorneys’ fees, court costs, and interest at 6%. This judgment may be enforced by any means generally available for the enforcement of judgments for debts.
Child Support Lien for Arreages
A statutory lien arises by operation of law for all amounts of overdue support, even if the arrearages have not been reduced to a judgment. The lien attaches to all of the obligor’s real property (other than homestead property), and to all personal property that is not exempt from creditors’ claims. The lien automatically attaches to property acquired in the future, as well as the obligor’s existing property, including claims for negligence or personal injury.
Delinquent Obligor Must Pay Court Costs and Attorney’s Fees for Person Enforcing Order
In an enforcement proceeding, if the court finds that a non-indigent obligor failed or refused to make child support payments, the court shall order the obligor to pay court costs and the movant’s attorneys’ fees, unless the court makes a specific finding that the obligor is not required to make such payments and states the reasons in support of that finding.
Uniform Interstate Family Support Act
Texas has enacted the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). The primary purposes of UIFSA are (1) to simplify and expedite the procedures for interstate enforcement of support orders and income-withholding orders, and (2) to eliminate the practice of multiple support orders being issued by the courts of several states. Basically, this act allows support orders from Texas to be enforced in other states and vice versa. If you have a support order from another state and you now reside in Texas, it is important to register the other state’s order with the state of Texas so it may be enforced as if it were a Texas order.
May 24th, 2010
In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case you file a plan showing how you will pay off some of your past-due and current debts over three to five years. The most important thing about a chapter 13 bankruptcy case is that it will allow you to keep valuable property, especially your home and car, which might otherwise be lost if you are behind on your payments. To file Chapter 13, you must prove that you are able to make the payments. In most cases, these payments will be at least as much as your regular monthly payments to your mortgage and car loans. with some extra payments to get caught up on the amount you have fallen behind.
You should consider filing bankruptcy if:
1. You own your home and are in danger of foreclosure
2. You are behind on some payments but just need some time to get caught up
3. Own valuable property that is not exempt.