Question: Are child support enforcement agencies that are registered with the Texas Department of Banking considered government agencies of the State of Texas?
Answer: No. The agencies registered with our office are individuals or nongovernmental entities that engage in the enforcement of child support ordered by a court or other tribunal for a fee or other consideration. The official child support enforcement agency for the State of Texas is the Office of the Attorney General.
Question: Are all obligees and obligors protected by the Texas Finance Code and Texas Administrative Code?
Answer: The Department’s interpretation of the law is that it only applies to obligees and obligors that were Texas residents at the time the contract was executed. As situations change, the obligor and obligee may not be protected by the statute. For example, if the obligor subsequently moves out-of-state, they are no longer protected by the statute. However, if the obligee moves out-of-state, they continue to be protected by the statute. If both parties were not a resident at the time the contract was executed and neither party lives in Texas, the statute does not apply. In this scenario, the obligor or obligee must contact their own state for information regarding the laws that govern child support and child support enforcement agencies operating in their state.
Question: Does the Department regulate PCSEA contracts?
Answer: No. The Department only reviews contracts for clear language. Prior to signing a contract with the PCSEA, it is the client’s responsibility to read the contract in its entirety in order to understand all terms and conditions. Upon signing, the client is bound to the contract. Any further negotiations or changes to the contact will need to be addressed with the PCSEA.
Question: Can the Department help me terminate my contract with the PCSEA?
Answer: As a general rule, no. The Department of Banking does not intervene in contractual disputes or terminations of contracts. If the client has problems with the terms or would like to terminate the contract, it is best to consult legal counsel. In general, most contracts contain a provision that allows a client to terminate the contract within a set number of days upon signing. Once this timeframe has expired, the contract cannot be terminated unless the contract explicitly contains a termination provision. In cases where provisions exist, the client must meet the termination criteria listed within the contract. Example of termination criteria are:
- PCSEA is unable to fulfill contract within established timeframe;
- custodial parent has not received a child support payment within set amount of months; or
- the full child obligation has been paid.
Question: How do I know if my contract is in clear language?
Answer: As designated in the Texas Administrative Code Title 7, §31.14 PCSEA contracting with clients who are Texas residents at the time the contract is executed, must be written in clear language. Generally, the contract is not in clear language if:
- over 21% of its sentences are passive in structure;
- the average sentence length exceeds 19 words;
- the Flesch Reading ease score is less than 47.0; and
- the Flesch-Kincaid grade level score is higher than 11.
Question: At what age does child support no longer accumulate as determined by state law?
Answer: In Texas a court may order that support be paid for a child
- until the child is 18 years old or until after graduation of high school, which ever occurs later;
- until the child is emancipated through marriage;
- until death of the child; or
- if the child is disabled for an indefinite period.
Question: Is there a statute of limitations for the collection of past due child support?
Answer: There is no statute of limitations. A child support obligation must be paid in full.
Question: What percentage of the obligor’s monthly net resources is used to determine child support payments?
Answer: Per Texas Family Code §154.125, guidelines for the support of a child are specifically designed to apply to situations in which the obligor's monthly net resources are $7,500 or less. If the obligor's monthly net resources are $7,500 or less, the court shall presumptively apply the following schedule in rendering the child support order.
Child Support Guidelines
|1 child||20% of Obligor's Net Resources|
|2 children||25% of Obligor's Net Resources|
|3 children||30% of Obligor's Net Resources|
|4 children||35% of Obligor's Net Resources|
|5 children||40% of Obligor's Net Resources|
|6+ children||Not less than the amount for 5 children|
If the obligor's net resources exceed $7,500 per month, the court shall presumptively apply the percentage guidelines to the first $7,500 of the obligor's net resources. Without further reference to the percentage recommended by these guidelines, the court may also order additional amounts of child support as appropriate, depending on the income of the parties and the proven needs of the child.
Question: What triggers a filing of a lien?
Answer: Any amount of past due child support balance can trigger a property lien. These are usually filed in the county where the real property is located or delivered to the asset holder (obligor).