Jurisdiction To Enforce Arrearages

The court has jurisdiction to enforce child support arrearages until everything is paid.

Section 158.102 of the Family Code entitled Duration of Writ of Income Withholding provides:

An order or writ for income withholding under this chapter may be issued until all current support and child support arrearages, interest, and any applicable fees and costs, including ordered attorney’s fees and court costs, have been paid.

Tex. Fam. Code §158.102.

Section 157.318 of the Family Code entitled Duration and Effect of Child Support Lien

provides:

(a) A lien is effective until all current support and child support arrearages, including interest and any costs and reasonable attorney’s fees, have been paid . . .

(b) The lien secures payment of all child support arrearages owed by the obligor under the underlying child support order . . .

Tex. Fam. Code §157.318(a), (b).

Family Code §157.313(a)(5) also provides a child support lien may issue and be based on the child support arrearages determined by a writ of income withholding. Tex. Fam. Code  §157.313(5). The Family Code also provides that a child support lien may issue “regardless of whether the amounts have been adjudicated or otherwise determined.” Tex. Fam. Code §157.312(d).

The time periods set forth in the Family Code for issuance of a child support lien are identical in every aspect to the time periods for a writ of withholding. Therefore, the remedy of a lien, like the remedy of a writ of income withholding, is available in the Family Code until all unpaid child support has been paid.

Section 157.269 of the Family Code entitled Retention of Jurisdiction provides:

A court that renders an order providing for the payment of child support retains continuing jurisdiction to enforce the order, including by adjusting the amount of the periodic payments to be made by the obligor or the amount to be withheld from the obligor’s disposable earnings, until all current support and medical support and child support arrearages, including interest and any applicable fees and costs, have been paid.

The commentary on this provision clarifies that “the court which renders the support order retains jurisdiction to enforce that order until the support obligation has been fully satisfied.” Sampson & Tindall’s Texas Family Code Annotated, Commentary, 753 (Thomson West 2007). Based on the above authorities and statutes, you may issue a writ of income withholding, a child support lien and a child support levy for the collection of unpaid child support until all unpaid child support has been paid.Child Support 2 Collect

Published by Steven Sinkin on 2013-08-13