Texas parents have a general duty to provide financial support for their children. If child support is not paid on time, custodial parents have a number of different enforcement tools at their disposal.
As explained by the Office of the Attorney General of Texas, the failure to pay child support could potentially lead to the interception of an income tax return, wage garnishment, or even a bank levy.
However, parents do not always have an unlimited amount of time to make a claim to recover overdue child support. A parent will lose their right to bring a legal claim if action is not taken before the statute of limitations expires.
Here, our Waco, TX family law attorneys explain the most important things that you need to know about the Texas child support arrears statute of limitations.
Child Support Statute of Limitations: Texas
With an Existing Court Order
If there is already a court order in place, then parents in Texas have considerable — but not unlimited — time to file for back child support. Under Texas law, the statute of limitations for seeking back child support when a court order is already in place is ten years from the child’s 18th birthday. If no claim is filed by that time, then any recovery for back child support may be denied.
Without an Existing Court Order
If there is no existing child support order in place, that does not mean that a non-custodial parent can simply avoid making payments. Child support is still owed, even without an official court order to mandate it. However, in this circumstance, parents have far less time to seek financial relief for unpaid, overdue child support. Under Texas law (Texas Family Code – FAM § 154.131), the custodial parent has four years after the date of the child’s 18th birthday to file a claim. This is a far more strict back child support Texas statute of limitations.
Notably, this type of case is known as a retroactive child support claim — since financial recovery is being sought without any existing court order. With retroactive child support, Texas courts presume that the total amount of child support that will be award will not exceed the amount that would have been due over the previous four years had a child support order been in place.
This is a rebuttable presumption. If evidence can be presented that the non-custodial parent intentionally sought to avoid paying child support, a Texas court may allow retroactive child support in an amount beyond the general four-year limit.
Contact Our Waco, TX Child Support Lawyer Today
At the Law Office of Simer and Tetens, our Texas family attorneys have extensive experience handling the full range of child support cases.
If you have any questions about back child support, we are here to help. To set up a free, no obligation initial consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us today. With an office in Waco, we serve communities in McLennan County and throughout Central Texas.