In a perfect world, unmarried or divorced parents would always make timely payments on child support. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Sometimes, the paying parent will refuse to make payments for a variety of reasons. For those Texas residents who rely on child support payments, this can prove to be a trying turn of events. Thankfully, there are ways to enforce child support when a spouse refuses to pay. Courts are very stern when it comes to child support. They will strictly enforce it. Once a payer starts to fall behind on payments, that payer will be considered to be in arrears. At this point, the payer can request for a child support modification if the monthly payments prove to be too much to handle. However, the modification will only apply to future payments; they cannot be modified retroactively. In the case of a spouse refusing to pay, divorced spouses can make use of the 1984 Child Support Enforcement Act. This imbues district attorneys with the power to help in collecting child support from an unpaying party. This usually takes the form of serving the ex-spouse with papers. In these papers, guidelines to meet with the district attorney are often enclosed. Failing to meet with the district attorney will often result in jail time. However, jail is not always the best answer, as it can mean that the ex-spouse will be unable to earn money and thus will not be able to meet their payments. Finding out what the best move is when an ex-spouse refuses to pay child support can be a difficult task. It is not one people have to decide on alone — attorneys are available to assist with every step of the process.