A probate judge made national news recently when he ordered a man who owes nearly $100,000 in unpaid child support to stop having children. The order was newsworthy nationwide because many people were shocked by the directive, which is punishable by increased sanctions and possible jail time if it is violated.
The order from the judge specifically instructed the man to make “all reasonable efforts” to avoid impregnating anyone until he is able to meet his current financial obligations to the children that he already has. The order came during a hearing for criminal nonsupport, a charge which can result from nonpayment of child support for an extended period of time.
The man in this case currently has four children. He told reporters after the hearing that he was taking care of his four kids in other ways even though he is not paying child support. The judge said during the hearing that if there were other ways in which he was spending money on the children he needed to stop doing so and redirect his resources through the proper child support payment channels in the county.
While the order was shocking to many who read about it, the judge defended his actions saying that it was not too invasive and that the punishment fit the crime. The man will be appealing the order.
This case is just one example of the many possible consequences for nonpayment of child support. Once a court has ordered one parent to pay the other child support, that order must be complied with absent a major change in circumstances.
Source: The Chronicle-Telegram, “Judge tells man who owes nearly $100K in child support to stop having children,” Brad Dicken, Jan. 24, 2013.
More information about how these issues affect Texas families can be found on our Houston child support page.