Child support can be complicated and contentious, especially in cases where parents cannot agree on the amount or the payment method. That is why the laws governing child support are constantly evolving and updated to reflect families’ changing needs and circumstances.
In Texas, some new amendments to the Family Code affect child support and became effective starting September 1, 2023. These amendments intend to make the child support process more fair, efficient and enforceable.
Overdue child support and inheritance
Under the new rule, parents owing child support cannot use their inheritance until they pay child support. This law imposes a lien on inherited assets, meaning if child support is not paid, these assets could be seized or sold. This applies to all inherited items. Unlike the past law, this prevents people from avoiding child support by transferring their inheritance. For instance, under the original law, a parent could inherit a house, sell it or give it to a new partner without settling their child support debt. That will no longer be possible.
Reduction in child support arrearages
The revised Family Code amendment firmly says that unpaid child support, or “arrears,” cannot be subject to a reduction by any party, even if both parents agree. Any agreement to decrease or cancel child support arrears is invalid and unenforceable. The previous law was unclear, causing confusion and disputes over child support amounts. For example, if a parent owed $10,000 in child support, they could propose to pay $5,000 instead. The parents could document this agreement if both agreed upon it, but now, such contracts are not legally binding as only courts can change child support orders.
Receiving adequate support
Texas child support laws dictate the calculation, collection and enforcement of child support. These amendments ensure individuals owing child support fulfill their obligations and do not manipulate their assets. Doing so protects children’s rights and ensures they receive adequate financial support.