Delinquent Child Support in Texas = Denial of Motor Vehicle Registration Renewals

December 2016 the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles will start denying motor vehicle registration renewals for parents who have gone at least six months without making a child support payment. The law applies to Office of the Attorney General (OAG) child support cases.

The OAG also has the authority to bar the renewal of professional, recreational and handgun licensed of parents behind on child support payments.

Delinquent Parents will receive a notice from the Department of Motor Vehicles and a letter from the attorney general’s office about two months before their registration is set to expire.

Once parents receive a notice, they must agree to a payment plan with the Attorney General’s child support division before they will be able to renew their registration.  This law only applies to motor vehicle renewals.  New vehicle purchases are not affected.

HELP! The Warning Signs of Divorce

When the warning signs of a fractured relationship with your spouse have been surfacing for quite a while, many people are still caught off guard when their spouse asks for “The Divorce”.  Although the husband may cause marriage problems, about 75% of divorces are initiated by the wife.  

Usually one spouse is in shock/denial and may want to truly try to salvage the marriage. At times a spouse will try to blame the other spouse of being a quitter for wanting to be legally released from an unacceptable marriage. Often the non-initiating spouse is at the point where it is a relief that “The Divorce” question has surfaced and will readily agree that divorce is the right option.

Marriage and family is not an easy proposition at times and sometimes it is easier to just say goodbye and return to single life. But if you truly love your spouse and family you should look at the warning signs and try to change the direction of the marriage.  Every relationship has its up and downs and needs new considerations at times. Take time to review your relationship and catch early warning signs that the marriage may be running off its tracks.  

What are some serious signs that you and your spouse could be headed for a DIVORCE?

  1. Spouse interaction is more negative than positive: Marriage researcher, Dr. John Gottman researched the negative/positive effect and found that stable marriages have 5:1 ratio of positivity to negativity during conflict. Whereas unstable marriages have .8:1 ratio of positivity to negativity during conflict (Gottman & Levenson 1999). The acceleration of verbal criticism, nagging, and sarcasm in a relationship can be a definite sign that there is trouble in the marriage.  
  2. Stonewalling when “you can’t break down the wall”: Stonewalling is a refusal to communicate or cooperate through body language or verbally shutting down when a situation with your spouse gets out of control and you don’t know how to handle the situation. This is very serious and may be the time to bring in a marriage counselor to help work through this problem.
  3. No Conflict Resolution: Marriage researcher, John Gottman, states that the lack of communication isn’t the marriage breaker but the lack of effective conflict resolution. This is a very serious problem when couples can’t reasonably work out their differences without causing injury to their relationship and finally quit communicating with each other to avoid more disagreement and conflict.
    Other times one spouse or both have reached the point where every conflict has become a situation that must be “won” by bullying the other spouse into submission. There must be a “winner” but with this win comes mutual loss of respect, increasing distance and eventual withdrawal from the relationship.
  4. Emotional and Physical Disengagement and Disaffection: When couples can’t communicate, they will find different avenues for emotional engagements.  Many neglected spouses will look out of the marriage at other values or priorities that helps them feel connected. A new religion, lifestyle, or job opportunity that the other spouse would never agree with can now be a reality for them.
    Emotional Disengagement is usually accompanied by withdrawal of affection. Couples in a divorce situation consider themselves “fallen out of love” with their spouse.
  5. Sudden Change in Behavior? Has your partner suddenly started caring more about their appearance and spending more time “away from” home. Or more time is spent with their children and instead of “our marriage” everything is centered around “our children”?
    Has your sex life disappeared? This is a good indicator that your emotional disengagement is advancing steadily and the spouses take no pleasure in each other. These are serious signals of rapidly eroding bonds in your marriage if not in a terminal state.
  6. Preparation for the “Single Life”: As people get tired of dealing with each other and the total indifference of the relationship, they will start living parallel lives and finally dissolve their personal relationship. Many couples heading for divorce will take up new habits and friends that differ from their spouses. New social networks will be centered around a single lifestyle.

Sounds like your current life with your spouse? DON’T GIVE UP YET! IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO SALVAGE A FADING MARRIAGE! If people will realize that a marriage is not perfect and there will be conflict a certain percentage of time. Concentrate on working out a solution together to have a positive, loving relationship that can withstand the bad times. Just Remember: there was some spark that drew you to your spouse. Try to find it again or divorce.

Recurring Wrongful Conduct: Holiday Violations of Visitation Access

The holidays can be very frustrating times for both spouses when undergoing divorce proceedings that involve custody issues with children and one spouse acts in bad faith or arbitrarily.  If a spouse violates a temporary custody order, he or she may not face consequences at the time but must explain their actions to a district judge in the future.

If a temporary custody order describes in detail the periods of possession during the Christmas holiday, the order is binding on both spouses. The temporary custody order is binding civilly and NOT criminally per se. This is an important distinction to understand before you decide to call the police. Family law matters, with notable exceptions such as domestic violence and protective orders, are generally governed in civil and not criminal courts.  Because temporary custody orders involving children are governed by civil courts, a police officer has no immediate basis to enforce the civil order.

If your spouse refuses to release your child to you at the prescribed time mandated in the temporary custody order, there are certain things that you should do to insure this wrongful conduct properly is documented for future civil contempt proceedings.

  1. Call the police!!! Many police departments will not respond because temporary custody orders are not criminally enforceable, but if the police department decides to respond then you may request a police report to be filed noting that your spouse deliberately violated the temporary custody order. This may be used in Court to persuade the judge to hold your spouse in civil contempt or validate your properly made demand for access in accordance with your temporary order.
  2. Save and preserve any text messages, emails, letters, or recorded phone calls that demonstrate and reaffirm your spouse’s refusal to deliver your children into your custody during the holiday or other allotted time in your visitation order.
  3. Call your attorney and notify him of your spouse’s refusal to deliver the children to you.
  4. Do not be tricked or cohered into a physical confrontation with your soon to be ex-spouse!!!

By completing these four tasks you will be gathering and preserving evidence to hold your spouse in civil contempt of Court. After the Christmas Holiday season or other access periods are over, your lawyer with your consent will file a motion to hold your spouse in contempt of Court for violation of the temporary custody order. If your spouse is found in civil contempt of Court, he or she may be fined, ordered to jail for up to 180 days until the fine and attorney fees are paid, and the violation may be a solid basis to favourably modify the previous temporary custody orders. Such rulings are at the judge’s discretion.

Though you may feel helpless at the time, justice may be achieved through the District Courts in the form of civil or contempt sanctions. Judges usually look down on a spouse that blatantly violates temporary custody orders especially during Christmas or other special holidays.  Just relax and be patience if your spouse refuses to deliver the children to you and document the conduct.  Justice may take time but in the end, it is usually affirmed.

Julian Nacol
The Nacol Law Firm P.C.
990 S. Sherman St.
Richardson, Texas
(972) 690-3333