The state of Texas has a new way to keep people current with their child support payments. If you fall behind, don't expect to be able to renew your vehicle registration. Beginning this fall, the Texas Attorney General's Office expects to refuse registration renewals if a parent is six months or more in child support arrears. The goal is to crack down on those avoiding payments, and trying to get every child their due.
State departments have previously revoked a delinquent parent's driving license all together, returning it once they had paid their support in full. While this is may be an effective way to get some people to pay attention to their children, revoking driver’s licenses can often lead to permanent issues, such as people having trouble getting to their jobs, or to visit their children.
Main caregivers, however, who have been waiting six months or more for a child support payment may think the law a good idea. All parents who have not stayed current with payments will receive documentation if their registration is at risk, along with instructions on how to get the hold off of their vehicles.
There are problems with a bill like this. While the aim is admirable, it doesn’t cover all ends. This only blocks the vehicle registration, not the driver themselves. If one could buy another vehicle and register it under a different legal name, for example, they might be able to circumvent the state's attempted coercion in getting them to pay up. With a hint of optimism, however, most people aren’t in such camps.
The sentiment of the bill is praiseworthy, and nobody doubts that a court order to pay child support should be taken seriously. Trying to crack down on the delinquent parents of Texas is sure to lead to a few happier kids, with more successful childhoods. The main legal hurdles would keeping parents who are able to pay separate from those who aren’t: if one can’t pay, maybe there should be some leniency on having the registration revoked.
It may not take the full amount owed in order to have one’s vehicle registered again. But the parent has to talk with the courts in order to discuss a payment.