My husband has stopped sending child support. He moved from Houston to Florida four years ago after we divorced. I can’t reach him in Florida despite repeated calls. What are my options?
Anyone who has not made child support payments as ordered must pay back child support. The repayment of this debt might include fees and interest charges, in addition to the back child support. For the most part, states handle back child support, although the federal government can become involved if the obligor is at least two years behind in payments. Parents who owe back child support must pay the debt in full, even if the child is beyond the age of majority.
Established in 1999, the Child Support Lien Network (CSLN) houses a database of 3.7 million delinquent child support obligors owing over $80 billion in past-due support updated on a monthly basis by participating states. The database is used to intercept insurance settlements to pay delinquent child support obligations owed to children and families.
Both Florida and Texas belong to the Child Support Lien Network and enforce child support orders from other states. Your ex-husband faces all kinds of penalties that may be imposed by state or federal governments:
- Suspension of Licenses
- Denial of Passport
- Wage Garnishment
- Seizure of Tax Refund
- Property Seizure
- Jail Time
- Cross-Border Enforcement (More than 100 countries have reciprocal child support arrangements for cross-border enforcement.)
Don’t try to handle this yourself. Go through the proper legal channels. A Houston divorce attorney can guide you in attaining the funds that are owed to you.
You don’t necessarily have to go to court. A child support lien can arise without any court actions as long as the notice is proper legal paperwork that is filed to establish why your lien is valid and complies with state law. Your Houston divorce lawyer can simply file the notice with the clerk of court in the county where you live, the county where your husband owns personal or real property, or the county where the child support has jurisdiction.
Note: Only non-exempt properties such as valuable collections, second homes and second cars, and other luxury items can be subjected to a child support lien. A lien against this type of property secures your debt because your husband can’t sell or dispose of the property without paying the money owed to you. Since you hold an interest (the amount of back-support owed by your husband) on the property, you can foreclose on your interest in the property.
Even though you can under the law, if want to collect delinquent child support payment with a lien against property, you should seek legal counsel. Call LaFour Law today at 713-369-5932 to set up a consultation to discuss how we can work together.