Judges and other officials use different methods to shame parents who owe child support. There’s the “man ordered not to procreate,” edict. Or, “the man who is forced to tell any woman he meets that he owes child support,” order. Or finally, “the dad that is forced to display signs proclaiming himself a “deadbeat.” By the way, the term “deadbeat dad” can may be offensive to some, but it’s attractive to news papers and media outlets looking for an eye-catching law-and-order legal story. And, it’s probably a strong deterrent to future child support delinquency.
All that said, less attention is paid to primary custodians that defy the court’s orders respecting the noncustodial parent’s access to and participation in their children’s life. The disparity between custodial interference and the enforcement of failing to pay child support is detrimental for fathers, in particular, who represent 87.1 percent of child support payers and 82.6 of noncustodial parents, according the U.S. Census.
One person might argue that the incongruity is evidence that the responsibility of daily rearing of a child is held in a higher regard than the emotional connection a parent – in this case, a father – has with a child. What happens to a father who is not able to maintain his payments even after only a few months of failing to pay? Enforcement can be swift and forceful, with the custodial parent (usually the ex-wife) hiring a private counselor, or using a local child support enforcement office. On some occasions the individual owed child support won’t have to ask for any assistance, especially if the offender has met some type of threshold for noncompliance, such as failure to pay for a few consecutive months.
Depending on the jurisdiction, several of the penalties might be carried out “extra-judicially” without needing any judicial intervention. The offending individual might receive notice that their driver’s license is going to be suspended, their vehicle is going to be repossessed, their passport is going to be confiscated, or their federal tax return will be intercepted. Although it is very rare, jail time is still a very real possibility for many fathers.
Consider the situation where the ex ignores the court ordered scheduled gatherings and keeps the children from the other parent. The father goes to pick up the kids but the ex-wife won’t let them leave the residence. The dad is supposed to have Father’s Day with the children, but the ex-wife took them to see their grandfather. As the noncustodial parent, your initial reaction would likely be to pick up the phone and call the police. In Texas, however, law enforcement does not typically help enforce visitation. Rather than ask for assistance from a local authority or wait for a Texas state agency to step in, know that visitation is treated as a civil matter. An individual must choose a family law attorney or navigate the Texas legal system on their own. When your family is choosing a lawyer, fighting for child support or custody enforcement in Houston, Texas, choose the LaFour Law Firm. Visit www.lafourlaw.com to schedule a consultation today or reach them via phone at 713.223.7700.