New rules for parents behind on child support

New rules for parents with overdue child support
Published: Jun. 21, 2016 at 11:32 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 21, 2016 at 11:41 PM CDT
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Christina Woods & Estevan Bernal (Source: KCBD)
Christina Woods & Estevan Bernal (Source: KCBD)
Estevan Bernal (Source: KCBD)
Estevan Bernal (Source: KCBD)
Cindy Kirk (Source: KCBD)
Cindy Kirk (Source: KCBD)
Christina Woods (Source: KCBD)
Christina Woods (Source: KCBD)

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Parents behind on child support will have another obstacle coming before the year is up.

The Texas Attorney General says parents who don't pay up will not be able to renew their vehicle registration.

The new law would go into effect this December, affecting parents who are 6 months or more behind on payments.

Lubbock native Estevan Bernal says making child support payments can be a real struggle, especially when changing jobs.

He had a great paying job, but he worked so many hours, he was not even able to make visitation so he took a lower paying job with better hours.

"It took a good three months before I could get my court order modified to my new job to get my child support changed," said Bernal.

While he waited, 60 percent of his paycheck went to child support, which left him to live on $200 a month. He says if he had gotten behind and his vehicle registration had been revoked, he might not have been able to recover.

Cindy Kirk is a single parent here in Lubbock who is going through a prolonged divorce. She says the new law will be great for parents who fight to make it every day.

"The hardest part for me is working and coming home and making sure that I'm going to have enough at the end of the week to provide for their needs," Kirk said.

Christina Woods is a Lubbock family law attorney. She says plenty of parents want to establish a relationship with their kids and want to take responsibility.

"Life can happen afterwards," Woods said. "You can lose a really great job and then end up behind the ball."

Woods says another huge problem is that parents who owe money can enter into a payment plan with the agency, and that would change the entire court order.

"The custodial parent can have their court order changed without ever having notice and that takes away a fundamental right to go to court related to your child and the money owed to you," said Woods.

"There's been times you go without eating just so your kids can eat," Kirk said. "I think of these people out there that have three or four kids, how hard that would be on either the father or the mother."

Bernal says if the law had been in effect when he was waiting on the system to update his court order, he would not have made it.

"Thankfully I only have one dependent, because if I had multiple dependents or if I had a family of my own, it would have been impossible," Bernal said.

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