Under Texas law, non-custodial parents are expected to provide financial support for their children. Such support typically lasts until the child turns 18, but there are instances where such requirements end early or span long after a child’s 18th birthday. There are several important things parents should know about this legal matter, though, and one of the most important is whether there is a statute of limitations on child support in Texas.
This guide will help you better understand this issue, and if you find yourself in any of the situations described below, our law office is ready to help.
Texas Child Support Statute of Limitations
When a court order for child support is in place, the parent who pays must abide by it at all times. Failing to do so is a crime, and it can land a person behind bars. Of course, a parent won’t be able to provide much support from jail — so they’ll often face things like wage garnishment, bank levies, or interception of tax refunds instead. When a parent fails to make payments, though, there is a deadline for such payments to be enforced.
That’s because there is a statute of limitations on child support in Texas. Unfortunately, the parent who receives payments may not always have time to file a claim for overdue payments. In some instances, this may make the other parent think they’re getting away with failing to provide support. However, Texas law dictates that a person may seek overdue child support up to 10 years after their child turns 18.
What if There Was No Child Support Order?
Of course, not all parents who should pay child support actually have a court order to do so. Without a court order in place, is it possible for a parent to collect what they should have been receiving the entire time? The answer is yes, but the statute of limitations for child support in Texas is much more restrictive in such situations.
That’s because a parent only has four years to file a claim after their child turns 18 if there was no court order in place. This is known as retroactive child support. In most instances, a court will only order the non-custodial parent to pay what they would’ve owed over the previous four years. If it’s proven that they took active steps to avoid paying, however, they may end up owing much more.
Dealing With Child Support Issues
Child support can be a complex issue in Texas. That’s because normal assumptions that people have are completely false. For instance, it’s typically the case that one parent will have to pay support to another even if there’s a joint custody agreement in place. That’s why it’s so important to fully understand state law and to seek out legal assistance when necessary.
The most important thing to remember is that a failure to enforce a child support order does not mean the other parent is off the hook. While there is a statute of limitations on child support in Texas, parents still have several years to seek back payments. If you have questions, want to enforce an order, or need a change in support payments, a Texas family law attorney can help.