When a relationship dissolves and children are involved, the financial and custodial care of the kids is sometimes split between the parents. One parent is usually required or openly agrees to pay a portion of the expenses associated with raising and caring for the children born during the relationship. Even with the best of intentions, circumstances change, and those necessary child support payments can fall behind or become increasingly difficult to make for Texas residents.
A man was recently incarcerated after failing to pay child support owed. The 30-year-old man claims he can't afford the payments and is actively searching for more gainful employment. After the man pleaded his case, the hearing officer ordered him arrested citing contempt of court.
It is unlawful for a hearing officer to order and execute the arrest of a defendant. Only a circuit judge can do so. The troubling aspect of this is the number of defendants who have been arrested without the order from a judge. One attorney reported that nearly 75% of his now clients had been arrested by a hearing officer prior to retaining the attorney's services.
Texas courts try their best to look after the caregivers who are owed child support from parents who, for whatever reason, are not paying. Infringing on the rights of defendants is against the law. Having an attorney who understands child support cases and the workings of court proceedings is crucial. Someone who can make sure that civil rights and liberties are kept in tack can help alleviate the stress of appearing in court and pleading a case.
Source: jacksonville.com, "Court says hearing officer was wrong to order arrest in child-support case", Andrew Pantazi, May 30, 2017