When noncustodial parents in Texas and around the country fail to pay their court-ordered child support payments, the Bureau of the Fiscal Service will likely become involved. This agency, which is part of the Department of the Treasury, is tasked with collecting delinquent federal and state debts, and there are several actions that they can take to encourage individuals to meet their financial obligations. In addition to holding back lottery winnings or state or federal income tax refunds, the BFS can deny the issuance of passports to noncustodial parents who owe back child support.
The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement notifies the Department of State when noncustodial parents owe more than $2,500 in back child support. The DOS then denies any applications for a U.S. passport made by these noncustodial parents and prevents any passports that have been issued to them from being used for travel. The DOS does not remove noncustodial parents from the Passport Denial Program automatically even when their child support arrears have fallen below $2,500.
Passport applications denied under the Passport Denial Program are not processed until the OCSE releases the case, and noncustodial parents must submit new applications if this takes longer than 90 days. Noncustodial parents who have been denied U.S. passports may contact their state child support agency or the National Passport Information Center if they must travel due to an emergency.
Disputes over child support can be particularly contentious, and experienced family law attorneys may urge noncustodial parents to meet their court-ordered obligations by reminding them of how seriously state and federal authorities treat this issue. In addition to holding back income tax refunds and denying passport applications, authorities may refuse to issue driver's licenses to or garnish the paychecks of noncustodial parents who owe delinquent child support.