As federal workers face the reality of not receiving a paycheck amongst the longest government shutdown in history, they are still required to make their monthly child support payments, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
“If there is no income in that check, there is no garnishment going on so they are already falling behind on their child support,” said Abel Hinojosa, a family attorney.
Hinojosa says that just like most bills, federal workers who pay child support are still required to do so.
“If you don’t pay the child support, it will keep on accumulating, it does not disappear,” states Hinojosa.
The Texas Attorney General is advising any parents going through this hardship to contact them stating on their website:
“The Texas Attorney General’s office is sensitive to the concerns of parents who are impacted by the shutdown of the federal government. Affected parents who pay child support are encouraged to contact our office to determine what options are available during this time period and to discuss payment arrangements and enforcement concerns.”
“We are happy to work with any parents to find a solution pertinent to their situation,” said Annette Hernandez, communications director for the Texas Attorney General’s office.
Since every child support case is different, the Attorney General’s office is offering a variety of advice and options.
“We are offering a multitude of things, suppression of enforcement remedies and that kind of thing that normally we would take in when a case stops paying,” said Hernandez.
According to Hinojosa, the court will look into whether or not the parent has other means to pay the child support.
“Do you have means to borrow the money, do you have reasons to sell anything to pay the child support, if the answer is no your defense is inability to pay the court ordered amount,” said Hinojosa.
Hinojosa says you cannot be put in jail if you have the inability to pay due to the shutdown.
“If you do not have the ability to make it, we do not have what we call contempt you cannot be put in jail for not paying the child support if you do not have the legal inability” said Hinojosa.
According to Hinojosa, for those who are unable to pay the best advice is to communicate with the other parent and the court.
The phone number for the Texas Attorney General- (800) 252-8014