Renewal Denied: How Not Paying Child Support Can Leave You Without A Car
Many parents look to the courts when seeking to enforce a child support obligation, but in the State of Texas, parents seeking payment have found a new ally in the Attorney General’s office. Texas has approved a new policy that will penalize parents who fall behind on child support payments by blocking their vehicle registration renewal. This initiative will go into effect this year and will impact drivers whose registrations are up for renewal in December, according to a recent NBC news report.
The change in the law is not meant to target one parent over the other, rather it will apply to any parent who has not made any child support payments in six months. Parents who are behind on their obligation can create a payment plan with the State. Janece Rolfe, a spokesperson for the Child Support Division in the Texas Attorney General’s Office, has confirmed that when the payment plan is executed, the information will be sent that evening to the department of motor vehicles and the hold for vehicle registration will be lifted. This new approach will be added to the other tactics that the Attorney General’s office employs when seeking child support, such as revoking the driver’s, professional, and recreational licenses of an eluding parent.
However, the new law has come under criticism for affording the Attorney General’s office too much power in the realm of child support. The argument is that a judge should decide whether the lack of payment is intentional and that the court is better equipped to take into consideration the financial circumstances of the parent that is unable to pay. Others see the policy as an attack on the livelihood of parents who can barely make ends meet. Brian McGrath, a family law attorney in Texas, noted that people who want to avoid paying child support will go out of their way to evade their responsibilities, using tactics including under reporting their earnings to the IRS and taking cash jobs so they will not have documented income.
In the end, the Attorney General’s office maintains that their number one priority in using these methods are the children. The child support obligation is there for the benefit of the child. Yet, not paying truly is a nationwide problem. With Texas being the leading state when it comes to collecting child support, having collected $3.8 billion, it makes one wonder whether other states should follow suit.