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Child support debt does not go away when a child turns 18

Some parents in Texas do not receive the child support payments that they are owed. When an individual does not make child support payments ordered by the court, a record of the unpaid debt will follow them even after their child has turned 18.

A parent who has unpaid child support debt is said to be in arrears. Until the arrears balance has been settled, the paying parent could face many different types of enforcement actions. Property liens, wage garnishment, tax refund seizure and even a jail sentence may be used to force a parent to fulfill their child support obligations. Though child support payments may stop accruing once a child reaches their 18th birthday, enforcement actions related to the unpaid balance could continue.

Depending on the state, child support orders may continue until the child is 19 or 21. In rare cases, a child support order may end before a child's 18th birthday if the child has been legally emancipated. Regardless of what date a child support order ends, the paying parent will continue to owe child support until they are up-to-date on all of their payments. Child support is usually not a dischargeable debt in bankruptcy.

Once a child reaches adulthood, there may be a statute of limitations for collecting back child support. A parent who would like to pursue back child support payments might want to talk to an attorney about how to enforce the child support order. A lawyer may help a parent petition the court for enforcement measures to collect back child support.

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