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Consequences for unpaid child support

On Behalf of | Apr 27, 2021 | Child Support

Children in Texas tend to enjoy a better childhood when they receive support from both their parents. The state recognizes this support as every child’s right, and the attorney general’s office takes measures to ensure that non-custodial parents keep up with their financial obligations. Individuals who become delinquent on child support payments face several consequences.

License suspension

The AG’s office maintains affiliations with more than 60 agencies that oversee licensing requirements in Texas. Parents who do not pay their child support may lose driving, fishing, hunting and other licenses.


The AG’s office possesses the power to place liens on assets belonging to parents who are delinquent with child support payments. Assets that can have leans attached to them include homes and other real property, bank accounts, insurance settlements and retirement plans.

Credit hits

Texas requires the reporting of child support information to the major credit bureaus. This information includes the amount of child support owed as well as payment information.

Jail time

Jail time is a real possibility for parents who fall too far behind on child support payments. Civil contempt charges bring with them a fine along with a jail sentence determined by the state.

Parents charged with criminal contempt of a child support order will remain in jail until making the ordered payment. The court will sometimes order parents to pay a “purge” to gain their freedom. A court can also order them to become current with full payment for all child support owed.

Community supervision

Some parents can avoid jail time for delinquent child support payments by completing community supervision. The parent still receives a jail sentence from the court. However, a sentence suspension will allow the payer to stay free. The parent needs to satisfy community supervision requirements and begin paying on their past-due child support to ensure they never have to serve the sentences given to them.

Individuals who are delinquent with their child support can face a range of consequences. Parents on either side of a conflict involving child support may benefit from speaking with a family law attorney.