Starting September 1, 2023, child support should be somewhat easier to collect, thanks to Senate Bill 869. The new law incorporates changes requested by the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Texas Child Support Division and makes several changes to the Texas Family Code (TFC), including:
If someone owes child support and inherits property of any kind, they are not allowed to transfer their inheritance to someone else. Instead, their inheritance can be tagged to pay their past due child support. For example, if the obligor (parent paying child support) owes child support and inherits $10,000 from family, they cannot transfer that inheritance to a friend or new spouse as a means of getting out of paying the past due child support.
Child Support arrearages cannot be reduced. The parties are no longer permitted to agree to reduce the amount of child support owed. This amends TFC § 157.263 and brings state law in compliance with federal law (42 U.S.C. §666(a)(9)(c) and 45 D.F.R. §303.106).
Child support liens no longer have a 10-year limit and expired child support liens on real property can now be renewed. TFC § 157.312 and 157.318(d).
If a parent receives a lump sum Social Security Disability payment and, at the same time, their child receives a lump sum Social Security Disability payment solely as a result of their parent receiving Social Security Disability, then the payment the child receives can be credited against existing back child support or back medical expense payments owed by that parent. This fills a gap in TFC §§ 154.132 and 157.009 and changes the law going forward in which a judge refused to allow the lump sum Social Security Disability received by a child to be credited against an existing child support arrearage. TFC § 154.132.
During COVID, many of us used “digitized” signatures on all kinds of documents. The amendment to TFC § 102.0091 allows digitized signatures on waivers of citation in a Suit Affecting Parent Child Relationship. This change should make it easier to get cases started when a waiver of citation is used.
If your situation involves child custody or divorce matters that also include a child support component, contact Deitchle+Simone for further information.
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