ATTORNEY GENERAL TO BEGIN ADMINISTRATIVE BLOCKS FOR VEHICLE REGISTRATION FOR PAST DUE CHILD SUPPORT
That’s right, folks. The Texas Attorney General has increased their ability to go after delinquent child support obligors: by denying vehicle registration for offenders.
Currently, the Texas Attorney General may already do the following for nonpayment of child support, administratively (without notice or the ability of the alleged offender to defend himself or herself):
- Garnish wages
- Garnish tax returns
- Impose liens against bank accounts, real estate, and other property owned by the obligor
- Suspend driver’s license and professional licenses
Beginning in December 2016, obligor’s who owe more than 6 months of back child support will be subject to denial of registration on their vehicle, in a new attempt to compel compliance with child support orders. Those who are more than 6 months behind on support with registration due in December or thereafter, will be notified of their status by letter approximately three months prior to the due date on their registration renewal.
Those who are flagged to have their registration denied will not be able to have their vehicle registered until they enter a payment plan with the Attorney General. There will be a direct number for those individuals to call to set up such payments, and that information may be listed on the registration letter.
Many who were against this legislation are worried that this will cause problems for those who are truly unable to pay their full support and arrearages, but who need their vehicles to make a living and attempt to pay the support in amounts that they can afford. Additional concerns are already being tossed around about the additional fees that obligors will have to pay to participate in and comply with this program.
And then there is the concern that I know many other family law attorneys have, but may be too politically correct to say – the Office of the Attorney General Child Support Division’s calculations and running totals for child support payments, delinquencies, and arrearages are not always correct (Gasp!). While the system is a good one with a noble and well-meaning goal, errors do occur. These errors already cost obligors much time to correct, and many times they will need to get an attorney involved to fix major problems. In the past year, I have had to get involved in cases to release a wrongfully garnished tax return; stop the garnishing of wages that were being delivered to a biological mother whose rights were terminated prior to the withholding; and correct numerous amounts of total back child support calculations.
Take note that if you owe more than 6 months of child support as your arrearage total, you need to be on a payment plan with the Attorney General as soon as possible, or you may be subject to having your vehicle registration denied beginning in December.
Contact us to speak to an experienced family law attorney and to know your rights regarding this new law, and the enforcement and payment of child support.