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FamilyAttorney, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1472
Experience:  Owner, attorney in private practice, appellate attorney, GAL & former trial lawyer, licensed for 37 years
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The state of texas is claiming that I owe back child support

Customer Question

the state of texas is claiming that I owe back child support to nebraska, I was divorced in 2001-2002 . I have called the court to get my records but was denied because they are sealed, in the last 15 years, they have always used ways to go around this acusing me of everything under the sun but never taking me to court for violation of a court order, I have been arrested twice , once for 3 felony counts of not paying child support ( I can not remember the actual wording) I sat in jail for 5 1/2 months and never went to court once when I was released I was not given any paper work about the whole thing and was not allowed to have any, they basicaly opened the door and told me to get out, I believe my civil and constitutional rights have been violated, but have never been able to get anything done about it, there are more unethical things they have done , I am hoping to talk to someone who can explain this .
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 12 months ago.

Hello. I’m a family lawyer, former trial lawyer and appellate attorney with 36 years’ experience and also have extensive experience with landlord-tenant issues. I look forward to helping you today.

At the end of our discussion I’m going to ask you to rate me, okay? I’d appreciate it because this is the only way we get credit for our time here today. It is at no extra cost to you.

Please note:This is general information for educational purposes and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an attorney on this site. You are advised to retain your own attorney.

If I’m back not here right away, I’m typing my answer. Thanks!

Did you ever get served with papers for contempt of court or ever get notified there was such a hearing?

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 12 months ago.

It sounds like there was never a hearing or notification whatsoever. If that's the case, then you are correct -- this is a violation of your rights to due process.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 12 months ago.

This is what has to happen for you to be thrown in jail for failure to pay child support:

Failure to obey a court order is called contempt of court. If you owe unpaid child support, the other parent can ask for a hearing before a judge and ask that you be held in contempt of court. You must be served with a document ordering you to attend the hearing, and then must attend and explain why you haven’t paid the support you owe. If you don’t attend, the court can issue a warrant for your arrest. Many courts do issue warrants, making county jails a resting stop for parents who don’t pay child support and fail to show up in court.

If you attend the hearing, the judge can still throw you in jail for violating the order to pay the support. And the judge might do so, depending on how convincing your story is as to why you haven’t paid.

To stay out of jail, go to the contempt of court hearing prepared to show that you have not deliberately disobeyed the court’s order to pay child support. You may have to convince the judge that you’re not as irresponsible as it appears. Preparing evidence is a must.

Your first step is to show why you didn’t pay.

Judges rarely put a parent in jail for contempt of court. Usually, it happens only if an income-withholding order and a wage garnishment won’t work. Courts recognize that a jailed parent cannot earn money to make child support payments.


That being said, if you have had no notification, nothing showing that you had a hearing or missed a hearing, then your rights have been trampled on.

You would need a lawyer who does civil rights or constitutional due process issues to sue the state for violation of your rights. There are lawyers who do this and I can see if I can find some in your area. We are not allowed to make recommendations but I can send you a list of lawyers and explain how to pick someone from the list. I would just need to know where in TX you are, approximately, a big city near you so I can find a list of lawyers.

Have I answered your question?

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 12 months ago.

I have a simple, easy-to-follow guide that I made for my customers here because many of them want to follow up on what has happened here with a lawyer in their community. It explains that you will be asking for a free consultation, that you don't sign anything unless you like the lawyer and if you don't, walk out of the office; how they are rated and what to look for.

I just poked around and see, for example, in Dallas there are 389 civil rights lawyers. That's up to you if you want me to find some for you but I'm more than happy to do so.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 12 months ago.

If it's easier for you to talk on the phone, we can do that, but that's totally up to you. You state that you have trouble finding lawyers to represent you but I think with my list you'll be able to find a bunch. I just need the nearest city in your area and I can send you that information.

Expert:  FamilyAttorney replied 12 months ago.

I don't know what happened in your case or why it happened, but it wasn't supposed to happen, obviously. They just can't throw you in jail without notice. It's illegal, it violates your constitutional and civil rights and TX can be made to pay for it. I'm really sorry that this happened to you. There's no excuse for the treatment you got and I'm so sorry you went through this. Now we have to help you get the money damages that you're entitled to.

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