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What to do if Co-Parent Refuses to Pay Child Support

It seems clear and basic enough, but there are still parents who fail to understand. The responsibility towards the child remains even after divorce. Thus, payment of child support and miscellaneous expenses is still necessary. 

A parent may have good reason to refuse or neglect to provide child support, even if the court mandates it. The primary custodian is already spending on the everyday expenses of the child.

Here are some options if a co-parent refuses to pay the necessary child support or the miscellaneous expenses:

Enforcing the Child Support Order

There are instances when the co-parents will agree informally to a certain amount. It should include the miscellaneous expenses of the child when it is computed. However, this will not be enforced by a state agency.  Thus, it is imperative to obtain a child support order from the court. With this order, child support is now a legal order. If a co-parent fails to comply, he or she can be charged with contempt of court. It constitutes disobedience of an official court order.

The custodial parent should report the delinquent co-parent to the court, and petition the judge to take action. The judge has some options:

Withholding the delinquent parent’s income

Many of the child support orders have provisions stating that the employer can deduct the child support amount from his employee’s income. There are ex-couples who choose not to enforce the withholding provision until there is a time that the ex-parent fails to comply. 

However, even without this provision, the parent is still responsible for making adequate and timely payments. 

Office of the Attorney General

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is tasked with ensuring that child support is paid amply and on time. This is because the state would not want to have the child on welfare or public assistance. Thus, the OAG will file lawsuits against the parents who fail to comply with the child support order. 

Duration of Child Support

It should be clarified that child support is the priority of the court, over alimony and other payments. Child support will last until the children reach eighteen years of age. However, if the child has a handicap or condition, whether physical or mental, then the court will determine the length of the support. Child support is implemented depending on the needs of the child.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at

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