In the ever-evolving landscape of family law, Texas has taken a significant step towards ensuring that child support obligations are met. The 88th legislative session brought forth a new law, effective as of September 1st, 2023, which grants the courts more authority to enforce child support orders. This law empowers courts to order child support obligors to find employment and holds them accountable for satisfying both past due and current child support obligations. This groundbreaking development, detailed in Texas Family Code 154.017, significantly strengthens the state’s commitment to supporting children’s financial well-being.
Understanding the New Law
The key feature of this new law is its ability to compel child support obligors to seek employment actively. In the past, obligors who were delinquent on their child support payments might have faced consequences such as fines, wage garnishment, or even jail time. However, the 88th legislative session has introduced a more proactive approach to addressing this issue.
Empowering the Courts
The primary shift with this law is that it empowers the courts to not just penalize delinquent obligors but also assist them in finding employment. This marks a significant departure from previous practices where obligors were often left to their own devices to meet their child support obligations.
The Court’s Rule
Under the new law, the court can play a more active role in helping obligors secure employment. Even if the job the court finds for them falls below their expectations or qualifications, obligors are now obligated to accept it. The focus here is on meeting child support obligations rather than job satisfaction.
Avoiding Contempt of Court
One of the most critical aspects of this change is that obligors who refuse to cooperate with the court’s efforts to find them employment can be held in contempt of court. This means that individuals can face legal consequences for non-compliance, which might include fines, imprisonment, or other penalties.
Benefits for Children
The new law is designed to benefit the children involved in child support cases. By actively helping obligors find employment, it increases the likelihood of consistent child support payments, ensuring that children receive the financial support they need for their well-being.
Challenges and Concerns
While this law is a step in the right direction for child support enforcement, it does raise some potential challenges. For example, obligors who genuinely struggle to find employment due to various circumstances may face undue pressure from the court. Ensuring that the court’s assistance is reasonable and fair will be crucial in the implementation of this law.
The 88th legislative session in Texas has ushered in a significant change in child support enforcement. By giving the courts the authority to actively assist obligors in finding employment, the aim is to ensure that child support obligations are met more consistently. While this law may face challenges in its implementation, its ultimate goal of improving the well-being of children is a commendable one. Parents and guardians involved in child support cases in Texas should be aware of these changes and understand their responsibilities under the revised law.
Contact Springer & Lyle
At Springer & Lyle, we are committed to providing expert legal guidance on family law matters, including child support issues. If you have questions regarding child support or any other family law matter, please contact experienced Springer & Lyle attorney Daniel Abasolo at 940.387.0404 to schedule a consultation. Springer & Lyle is located at 1907 Westminster, Denton, Texas 76205.