4 Ways to Avoid A Child-Support Enforcement Case – I was asked if there are any tips I can provide as a family lawyer to help someone avoid a child-support enforcement case, whether that person is guilty of non-payment or they’re the spouse who is thinking about taking legal action.
My first reaction was to say no. If you are the one not paying your support regularly and on time, the state of Texas can enforce a wide-array of remedies, including taking your drivers license, garnishing your income tax refund and/or your bank account, placing a lien on your property (real and personal), and even asking the court to sentence you to jail for contempt. I had a client who woke up one morning and found a $13,000 deduction from his bank account because of overdue child-support payments. He only had $1,500 in the account before that, which meant he was now negative by almost $12,000.
Trust me, getting behind on your child-support obligations is not a path you want to go down.
But with that said, there are four simple ways to Avoid A Child-Support Enforcement Case altogether:
1. Make your payments
You must recognize from the minute a child-support order has been rendered by the court that it is a legally-binding agreement. The child-support payments are YOUR responsibility, and if you are obligated to pay it, there’s nothing that’s going to get you out of that. Make your payments regularly and on time. The court will not look favorably upon you if you are making car payments, eating fast food, or entertaining yourself but not paying support….
2. File and serve a petition to modify
Just because you reach a point where you can’t make your payments (job loss or some other adverse financial situation arises), that doesn’t change the fact you still owe child support. The first thing you need to do in this circumstance is file and serve a petition to modify your payments. Don’t wait until you get a job – go get the forms online, go to the courthouse, and file it. Then you must serve the other party. Doing so will keep everyone on the same page and gives the court jurisdiction to modify your payments moving forward.
This goes along with tip No. 2. The better relationship you have with your former spouse, the less likely they will be to seek legal action for delinquent payments.
4. Pay something
The key here is to show some effort. If you owe $1,000 each month in child-support payments, don’t skip the payments altogether. Pay something. Show some effort. Don’t go buy yourself Starbucks or McDonalds, but instead sacrifice in various ways so you can at least make a portion of the payment regularly.
If you are involved in a child-custody case, or your former spouse is behind on child-support payments, it is always a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney before you proceed with any action. At Nelson Law Group PC, our friendly staff is here to help you. Give us a call today. For more information about Brett A Nelson, click here.