In the face of the underperforming economy and the need to make spending cuts to balance the state’s budget, Texas lawmakers opted to stop paying federal fees for child support enforcement services and pass those costs onto the custodial parents who receive the child support payments. As a result, support payments will shrink and the children will see less money.
The federal Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 authorized a $25 fee levied on parents who receive the benefit of child support payment enforcement programs. The states administer the programs but the federal government funds them partially. Some of the options that these programs provide are income tax return garnishment and license suspension in order to make delinquent parents make their court-ordered child support payments.
Changes in Texas
Many states, including Texas, initially chose to absorb the fees on behalf of those parents who received child support payments. The cost to the state was about $25 million annually. Now parents who use the child support enforcement services will have to pay the $25 fee if they receive at least $500 per month in support. For “registry only cases,” where the support payment comes from income withholding of the obligor parent, the parent receiving support will only pay a $3 administrative fee per month.
The entire state will now follow the model of the El Paso County Domestic Relations Office, which has run almost solely on the fees that it collects from the parents who use the office.
Child support orders are just like any other court order, and as such need to be respected. Unfortunately, many parents do not take their obligations seriously. An experienced attorney can advise you of your rights and options when you are having issues with child support payments or difficulty obtaining an order for child support,