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Finding of Contempt for Failure to Pay Child Support

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facebook cover 4.27.15
This last legislative session of the Texas congress and senate amendment to the contempt provisions for non-payment of child support.  Previously an obligor could not be found in contempt of court when they showed they were current on the day of the hearing.  Typically this means paying all of the child support arrears in the child support collection offices found in the basements of most courthouses and bringing a receipt to the hearing. Section 157.162(d) and (e) of the old code is where this provision was found. The new law prevents this situation by allowing a court to impose contempt, if appropriate under the circumstances.  Section 157.162 (b) was amended to allow the court to order and the movant to ask for other enforcement remedies to include a money judgment, posting a bond or other security such as withholding income.  As an attorney who both defends and prosecutes these types of claims, I can say that the law was fine prior to the amendment.  Attorney could still get costs and time for having to file the motion and the obligor was given a change to cure.  Now the obligor may still go to jail or could be punished in some other fashion.  While I believe in efficiency, and understand the judicial argument to having hearings over and over and the obligor constantly avoiding a jail term, what happens when the obligor is jailed?  They loose their job, cannot pay their bills, and do not pay support.  Sometimes efficiency must loose to practicality.  To give judge discretion is  the same as giving the dictator unlimited decision making.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Busby Jr. is a Divorce, Family Law, & Houston Divorce Lawyer,  who practices in Harris County Texas and the counties that surround Harris County, Texas. He has been in practice for over 14 years and has tried over 300 cases.  He is familiar with the policy and procedures of the Harris County Texas Divorce Courts.   Our office is open until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for working folks.

Michael Busby Jr.

2909 Hillcroft Suite 350

Houston, Texas 77057

(713) 974-1151

Visit me on the web at www.busby-lee.com