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LegalGems, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 9905
Experience:  Experienced Family Law Attorney
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Child Support case: In 2007, I had a child support case

Customer Question

Child Support case: In 2007, I had a child support case where I was the non custodial parent. The child was 15 at the time. I was not made aware of the child until I was severed. I was ordered to pay support. I live in Texas & the Child lives in South Carolina. The order was for me to pay support until the child turned 18, or to age 21 if they attended college. I never missed a payment. The child turned 18 in June of 2010. However, the child was not enrolled in a school of any kind at that time. The Attorney General of the state of Texas sent a letter to my employer telling them to terminate child support payments. The letter did not state why, just said I was no longer required to pay. I can only assume it was because the child reached age 18 and was not enrolled in a school of any kind. This was in 2010 and I have not heard anything from this case since.Today, I got a call from the AG office in from the city of Austin Texas. I just happen to answer the phone. They did not ask for me. Just said they were doing some routine work and wanted the address of my employer. I immediately got paranoid. Again, they did not ask for me or stated why they were calling. I just saw it was from the Child support division on the Caller ID. So my questions are:1. I know my order did not require me to pay back child support. My court order only required me to begin payments from the time the order started (when child was 15) until she was 18 as long as she was enrolled in a school. So could the custodial parent now come back and sue me for back payments before the child turned 15?2. I know the child was not enrolled in school at age 18. But what if the child decided to enroll in a school say 3 months or 6 months a year after turning 18? Would I then have to pay support even though the AG office sent a letter saying that I did not?Again, I have NO idea why the AG child support office would be calling here at work. They did not ask for me. They just asked for our address to send some information to update their information. My case was almost 6 years ago. So should I be worried? Could they be coming after me again for this case even though they sent a letter to my employer over 6 years ago saying the case was over and wage garnishment should stop?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  LegalGems replied 1 year ago.

the court would need to modify the order to continue it past the age of 18 if the child is still in school.

Here is the relevant statute:

Sec. 154.002. CHILD SUPPORT THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION. (a) The court may render an original support order, or modify an existing order, providing child support past the 18th birthday of the child to be paid only if the child is:

(1) enrolled:

(A) under Chapter 25, Education Code, in an accredited secondary school in a program leading toward a high school diploma;

(B) under Section 130.008, Education Code, in courses for joint high school and junior college credit; or

(C) on a full-time basis in a private secondary school in a program leading toward a high school diploma; and

(2) complying with:

(A) the minimum attendance requirements of Subchapter C, Chapter 25, Education Code; or

(B) the minimum attendance requirements imposed by the school in which the child is enrolled, if the child is enrolled in a private secondary school.

(b) The request for a support order through high school graduation may be filed before or after the child's 18th birthday.

(c) The order for periodic support may provide that payments continue through the end of the month in which the child graduates.

Absent the new order, the employer will be sent notice to stop the withholding:

Does the reaching of the current support obligation end date that is stated in the court’s child support order affect the employer’s duty to withhold as demanded in the wage withholding order? (A typical Texas order requires that the current support obligation continues until the child graduates from high school or reaches age 18, whichever is later.)

No, the employer is still bound to comply with the terms of the wage withholding order until the wage withholding order is superseded by an updated wage withholding order or until the wage withholding order is terminated by the court or issuing agency.

In many cases, the ending of the support obligation results in the existing wage withholding order being replaced by an updated order that simply increases the amount ordered to be withheld in order to pay past-due support by the amount of the now expired support obligation:

Existing wage withholding order:

You are required by law to deduct these amounts from the employee’s/obligor’s income until further notice.

$ 300.00 monthly in current support

$ 150.00 monthly in past‑due support

Arrears 12 weeks or greater? yes [X] no [ ]

Updated order:

You are required by law to deduct these amounts from the employee’s/obligor’s income until further notice.

$ 0.00 monthly in current support

$ 450.00 monthly in past‑due support

Arrears 12 weeks or greater? yes [X] no [ ]

If the employee contends that support has ended or is being over-withheld, the employer should advise the employee to direct his concerns to the court or agency that issued the wage withholding order.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I understand, but is there a statute of "When" the child must be in enrolled in a school after they turn 18? What if by age 18, the child was enrolled in high school but then dropped out for 3 months? or what if they finish high school, but then decide not to go to college immediately and enrolled in college at age 19? Is there anyway I can look up and see if I have a child support case pending with the AG department? How else would I know that the order was modified? Can the original order be modified six years later? Are there statutes of limitation of when the original order can be modified?
Expert:  LegalGems replied 1 year ago.

Per subsection (b) of the statute, the request for continued support can be filed after the child's 18th birthday.

Most counties have online access to legal documents (they are public records) so one can look online to determine if there are any outstanding orders; failing that, one can contact the AG directly to determine any issues.

If a new or modified order was issued, generally there is service on the parent, along with an order being served on the employer.

The statute of limitations for arrears is 10 years after the child turns 18, or after the child support order termintes.

Per 154.131, the parent cannot seek retroactive child support if they knew who the father was (and an order re: child support would indicate that the person knew - and at that time a request should have been made; not later)

Here is information on termination:

Sec. 154.006. TERMINATION OF DUTY OF SUPPORT. (a) Unless otherwise agreed in writing or expressly provided in the order or as provided by Subsection (b), the child support order terminates on:

(1) the marriage of the child;

(2) the removal of the child's disabilities for general purposes;

(3) the death of the child;

(4) a finding by a court that the child:

(A) is 18 years of age or older; and

(B) has failed to comply with the enrollment or attendance requirements described by Section 154.002(a);

(5) the issuance under Section 161.005(h) of an order terminating the parent-child relationship between the obligor and the child based on the results of genetic testing that exclude the obligor as the child's genetic father; or

(6) if the child enlists in the armed forces of the United States, the date on which the child begins active service as defined by 10 U.S.C. Section 101.

(b) Unless a nonparent or agency has been appointed conservator of the child under Chapter 153, the order for current child support, and any provision relating to conservatorship, possession, or access terminates on the marriage or remarriage of the obligor and obligee to each other.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay, so last question and forgive me if I am not understanding. I'm still not quite grasping the continuing education portion. So yes or no, if at age 18 the child is not enrolled in a school and the order is terminated because they are not enrolled. Then the child enrolls in a school to help them get a GED or diploma 3 months or 6 months after they turn 18, can the order then be revised and I be ordered to start paying child support again?
Expert:  LegalGems replied 1 year ago.

Yes, that is possible because the court states that the order can be entered after the child turns 18. The thing is that the parent with the obligation would be served, so they would have notice of that. And their employer would also typically be served as most orders are enforced via income withholding.

Expert:  LegalGems replied 1 year ago.

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