Texas law contains numerous child support enforcement measures and penalties for delinquent payments. These include professionals and occupational license suspension, along with stopping the renewal of handgun licenses. In fact, the state had the highest collection rate in the country for the ninth straight year and collected more than $3.9 billion in support last fiscal year.

However, the Office of Attorney General has collected over $160,000 in support programs since enactment of a new program that blocks parents from renewing vehicle registrations, if they fall behind on support payments for at least six months. The law does not apply to jointly-owned vehicles.

In accordance with this law, the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Attorney General’s office notify delinquent parents two months before the expiration of their vehicle registrations. Delinquent parents can then enter a payment plan for the late support.

December was the first month that the state could deny renewals. But, 7,209 parents received a delinquency notice since September advising that they should enter a payment plan before their registration expired. The Attorney General’s Office reported that 30,541 parents who received notices made payments in 635 support cases.

One family law attorney though questioned the law’s effect because it applies only to vehicle renewals and does not cover new car purchases. Some parents have also put their car registrations in another person’s name to circumvent notice and compliance. Another critic claimed that the new law merely punishes unintentional violators who then lose their ability to drive to the job and earn money for support payments.

In addition to providing guidance on seeking a fair and reasonable child support order, an attorney can help parents assure that the order is followed and seek child support modification when necessary. A lawyer can aid parents with utilizing all the laws governing support payments.

Source: The Dallas Morning News, “New program linking vehicle registration to child support seeks uptick in payments,” Madlin Mekelburg, Dec. 22, 2016