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What If Ex Isn’t Paying Child Support?

The Torres Law Firm  Jan. 8, 2023

If your ex was ordered to pay child support, it is because the court determined they owe financial support to your kids. You depend on receiving it regularly, as ordered, to provide for your children. Thus, when your ex isn’t paying their child support, your kids suffer.  

So, what are your options when they’re not contributing what they’ve been ordered to? Well, your child support arrangement was issued by the court. As with every court order, it can be enforced when a party fails to abide by it.  

It can take some time to work through the legal process of enforcing a child support order, so don’t just wait around and hope your spouse delivers what they owe. Put our family law attorneys at The Torres Law Firm in your corner. We proudly serve parents facing child support disputes in Corpus Christi, Dallas, and Fort Worth, Texas.  

Can I File a Contempt Motion for Failing to Pay Child Support? 

There are two types of contempt of court. The first is direct, such as talking back to the judge or yelling profanities. The second is indirect, which involves disobeying what the court has ordered you to — for example, paying child support of a specific sum at mandated intervals. Should the person ordered by the court fail to do so, they can be held in contempt of court.  

Child support enforcement usually begins with filing a contempt motion. The person who is owed child support payments, usually working with a child support attorney, makes the court aware of the violation of its order by filing a motion for contempt in the same court that entered the order.  

The motion must contain certain details, such as the specific part of the order violated and a historic record of violations. The motion should also ask the court for specific relief, which is usually more than just the cumulative amount due. Relief could include the court costs and attorney’s fees you must pay to file the motion and present your case to the judge. It could include interest and fees on arrearages or on loans you have taken out to cover your children’s lost revenue.  

When you have a court order for child support, you have until 10 years after the child’s eighteenth birthday to file a motion for contempt to recover past-due child support. If you fail to file within that statute of limitations, you forfeit your right to recover relief.  

What Happens If the Court Finds My Ex in Contempt? 

Judges have options for actions they take when they find a parent in contempt of their child support order. In Texas, they can sentence the parent to jail time, because a guilty contempt charge is considered a criminal offense.  

The judge can also order garnishment of the parent’s paychecks or force them to liquidate assets to obey the order. The penalty the judge will enforce largely depends on the amount the parent in contempt owes as well as other details of your case.  

What Will My Ex Have to Pay? 

Forcing your ex to comply with the child support order going forward is not the court’s only goal. For the sake of the children, the judge will likely also order repayment of back support plus payment of all other relief the court deems necessary. 

Your ex will be ordered to pay all sums in arrears, possibly with interest. They may also be compelled to pay other relief you included in the motion for contempt, such as court costs, attorney fees, penalties you have incurred as a result of your ex’s failure to pay, and more.  

Rely on Experienced Representation 

When the court orders child support, it must be paid and if it is not, your ex is violating the law. You count on child support when raising your children. You can also count on The Torres Law Firm’s experience and tenacity to help you pursue legal action to recover what your kids are owed.  

Falling behind on child support payments is like falling behind on paying any bill. The longer it goes on, the easier it is to just keep skipping them. Let us help you hold your ex accountable. Call us at The Torres Law Firm in Corpus Christi, Texas, to get started today.