Since the beginning of September, the Texas Attorney General’s office had additional child support enforcement powers under a new law. The office can now deny vehicle registration renewals if parents do not make child support payments over six consecutive months. However, this new law may penalize working mothers and fathers who use their own transportion to earn money to pay for this support.

Under the new law, the Attorney General’s Child Support Division (OAG) will match its electronic records of parents who are six monts late on support payments with Department of Insurance records to identify relevant vehicle identification numbers. The OAG will then verify that the parents are delinquent and contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV). Next, TxDMV and the OAG will notify parents that they are delinquent, and that they cannot renew their vehicle registration until support payments begin again. Initial notices will be mailed 90 days before registrations expire.

Economic hardship, instead of intentional calculation, often leads to delinquent payments. In recognition of these financial difficulties, a lump-sum upfront repayment is not required.

Delinquent parents will be instructed to set up a repayment schedule with the OAG. Vehicle registration renewals will not be processed until a repayment schedule is approved, and a support payment is submitted.

It is anticipated that this new law will effect 2,000 parents in the state each month. But, Texas has used other measures to collect late support payments.

The OAG has imposed license suspension of doctors, attorneys and other professional and occupational licenses, along with hunting and fishing registrations. The state also seized tax refunds and imposed liens on non-homestead real estate, retirement accounts and insurance policy proceeds. Parents can also be sentenced to jail for late payments.

The OAG claimed that its Child Support Division has been cost-effective and successfully collected late support payments. It collected $3.8 billion in support during the 2015 federal fiscal year. For every dollar spent, it obtained $12.26 in support payments.

Parents involved in child support disputes should seek legal assistance to help assure that their rights are protected. A lawyer can help identify legal remedies for late payments.