Behind on your child support? The state of Texas may make it difficult for you to get behind the wheel of your car.
This fall, the Texas Attorney General's Office plans on blocking vehicle registration renewal for parents who have not paid child support for six months or more.
The policy will begin affecting vehicle registrations that are up for renewal in December. Those with six months or more of unpaid child support will receive notice about the potential hold on their renewal in the three-month renewal notice in September. They will also receive instructions about how to remove the hold on their renewal in a letter from the Child Support Division.
In order to have the hold removed, parents will have to pay the child support that is due in its entirety.
The AG's office is currently able to take away driver's licenses and revoke professional and recreational licenses, but a spokesperson for the Child Support Division said they want to "use every tool" they can to collect unpaid child support.
However, the enforcement method has been criticized by those who say that it could backfire. In many cases, parents are behind on child support because they can't afford it, and taking away their transportation to and from work could only make matters worse.
Additionally, some family law attorneys have voiced concern over the fact that there is no judicial hearing to determine whether the hold should be in place or if a mistake may have been made.
If you are in jeopardy of your vehicle registration renewal being blocked because of unpaid child support, and you have fallen behind on child support because you cannot afford the payments, then it's important to ask the court to modify your child support obligations as soon as possible.
An experienced family law attorney can help you with the process, which involves explaining to the court that there has been a significant change in circumstances since the amount of child support was ordered -- you lost your job, you got a lower paying job, you had additional children, etc. -- and that the child support is no longer reasonable.
It's important to act quickly because changes to child support obligations usually do not apply retroactively. That means if the court decides to modify your child support, it will only apply to future payments, not past payments.
You can find out more information about the new policy here.