As an Austin immigration attorney, clients often ask me family law questions. There are a lot of areas where family law and immigration law intersect.
I am often asked: Do immigrants who are out of status or who have been deported still have to pay child support?
Yes! Child support payments are your responsibility to your child and it has nothing to do with your immigration status. Many parents do not pay their ordered child support after a divorce. This creates hardships on the parent who has the child most of the time and it also creates hardship on the children involved. There is myth out there that in the state of Texas, if you don’t pay child support, the state will. This is Not true. The state of Texas will not make child support payments for you. Not paying child support may deprive your child of things they need because the custodial parent may not be able to afford everything on his or her salary alone.
Not paying child support means that you can be thrown in jail for up to six months. The legal basis for this punishment is that not paying child support means you are in contempt of Court — it is a violation of a Court order.
If the contempt of Court hearing can result in a jail sentence, and you can prove your income is very low or non-existent, then you can request that an attorney be appointed to your case.
The best thing to do if you think you will be moving out of the country due to your immigration status is to hire a child support modification lawyer. A lawyer can help you in modifying the amount of child support you pay and avoid a jail sentence. Family Courts, at least in Travis County, do not typically inquire about people’s immigration status, which is why it is always better to seek a modification than to ignore your child support payments.
If your child’s parent owes you child support, you should hire an enforcement lawyer regardless of your immigration status. A lawyer would help you by filing a petition in Court asking for the person who owes you child support to pay it with interest.
The Lyttle Law Firm is available to assist your with your case. Call 24-7. (512) 329-2770.
We are located in Austin, Texas.