Texas parents who have not received the full child support ordered by the court may have another option for recouping their losses from the noncustodial parent. Some forms of Social Security benefits may be garnished in certain circumstances to assist with reclaiming unpaid child support, depending upon the type of Social Security received and the overall financial status of the noncustodial parent.
Child support may be reclaimed from Social Security payments either as a lump sum or as a percentage of the back support the noncustodial parent owes. However, the total garnishment for such benefits cannot exceed 65 percent of the total monthly payment or lump sum by federal law. In some cases, custodial parents may receive less, depending upon household income and legal caps on certain kinds of benefits.
Generally, Social Security benefits are exempt from withholding for child support because of the fact this is disability income. Another barrier may be the noncustodial parent's total income. If the Social Security benefits the parent receives represent their sole source of income, the custodial parent may need to take the noncustodial parent to court and demonstrate proof of failure to meet their child support obligations. In some cases, a judge may issue a court order for garnishment of the noncustodial spouse's income tax return or other available income.
In cases where court-ordered child support is owed, an attorney may start by analyzing the noncustodial spouse's income and standard of living to determine what avenues for obtaining compensation may exist. The attorney might present the case to the judge who presided over the divorce or advise the custodial parent go through state channels to reclaim owed child support. If necessary, the attorney may present proof of delinquency to the court for action.