Bentley’s Law: A Complete Guide Of The New Child Support Law 2023, Texas

House Bill 393

Everyone handles loss in their distinct manner, and coping mechanisms differ greatly. Managing this scenario frequently proves intellectually and emotionally challenging. Others find solace in having helpful people by their side who can offer a feeling of tranquility, like friends or family. Others, on the other hand, handle it differently, like this grandmother from Missouri who cooperated with state representatives to develop a law that seeks compensation, like child support obligation, for the financial losses sustained by victims of DUI offenses after the death of her loved ones.

What Is Bentley’s Law or House Bill 393 And Its Significance For Families In Texas?

At least three years have passed since a child support order was created or amended, AND the amount of child support owed, as determined by the Texas Family Code Child Support Guidelines, has changed. After being approved by both houses of the legislature, a new state of texas child support laws known as Bentley’s Law was signed into law by Governor Abbott on June 2.

Texas House Bill 393, or “Bentley’s Law,” is critically important for families who have lost a parent due to drunk driving. This compassionate legislation recognizes the staggering psychological and financial toll this tragedy has taken on families, giving the surviving minor children of the deceased a chance at a stable future despite their tragic loss. A ray of light in an otherwise dark and difficult time, this aid can help ease the pain of grieving and ensure that the children of the victims have the resources to pursue their dreams and aspirations.

Brief Background of The Creation Of This Law

Drunk driving kills 37 people every day in the United States. This works out to one person every 39 minutes. Drunk driving penalties are, sadly, minimal. After a drunken driver killed her family two years ago, a grandmother is working to ensure that new legislation discourages drunk driving and woulr require the impaired drivers to pay restitution.

Bentley’s Law was inspired by a heartbreaking incident involving Bentley and Mason’s parents and an impaired driver. The grandmother advocated for child support orders and legislation requiring convicted impaired drivers to support minors they had forgotten about financially, and Tennessee became the first state to enact such legislation in 2022. This legislation has received statewide and global attention, with Guam and South Korea approvals. Just recently this bill has been signed to law in Texas.

The proposed law requires drivers convicted of drunk driving accidents with minors to financially support them until they reach the age of 18 and graduate from high school. According to the bill, payments must begin one year after release from prison.

Overview of The Impact Of Child Support Payments On Families And Children

In recent times, a significant legal development has taken place regarding the responsibility of a drunk driver who causes a fatal accident resulting in the death of both parents. This development pertains to the legal obligation of the intoxicated driver to provide financial support for any surviving children. The drunk driving child support law has been strengthened so that the children left behind can have their basic needs met despite the tragedy.

Society delivers a strong message regarding responsibility and the welfare of future generations by holding drunk drivers accountable for the upbringing of the children they have left orphaned. These laws protect the children of convicted drivers and discourage others from driving under the influence, thus ensuring safer roads for everyone. This means that families and children can receive support and seek justice following the experience of such a devastating loss. This guarantee of meeting their needs and having enough money for a comfortable future gives them hope.

Furthermore, child support decreases the likelihood of a single-parent family falling into poverty or becoming dependent on public assistance programs. Having a stable source of financial support benefits a child’s emotional health. It offers a feeling of safety and consistency crucial for promoting healthy emotional growth, alleviating stress and anxiety resulting from financial uncertainty.

Understanding The Need For Bentley’s Law Child Support Order

Those responsible for heinous acts may find it simpler to move on than the affected parties and their dear ones. This poignant contrast reinforces the pressing requirement for a fairer and kinder judicial framework. Offering sufferers and survivors adequate resources and emotional assistance is vital for their recovery.

Through Bentley’s Law, accountability is sought for drunk driving offenders, which grants relief to the suffering parties via legal channels. Drunk driving’s devastating effects prompted the implementation of the Bentley statute.

Drunk drivers are required to take financial responsibility through Bentley’s law. The persistent financial burden should be a poignant reminder of the damage they have done to others. Abandoned children can benefit from child support, allowing them to navigate difficulties and ensure they finish high school.

Child support obligations serve as a tangible warning of the economic perils of drunk driving. The Bentley Law strives to decrease drunk driving occurrences and thereby improve community safety.

Key Provisions Of Bentley’s Law

Mandatory Compensation for Children of Drunk Driving Manslaughter Victims
The recently enacted statute updates Section 42 of the Code of Criminal Procedure by incorporating a new subsection named Article 42.0375. Financial compensation must be provided until the child turns 18 or completes their high school education. The court evaluates relevant factors before establishing an appropriate amount of restitution.

Determining Child Support Amounts
For the court to determine an amount of child support that is reasonable to be paid by one party to another, the following factors are considered. First, they consider the child’s financial needs and the resources available by the child’s surviving parent or guardian, as well as the child’s current lifestyle and educational needs. Furthermore, custody arrangements and any childcare expenses that might arise from work commitments are also taken into account like if a parent lost their job and the child’s medical insurance, it could qualify as a material and substantial change.

Enforcement of Payment and Restitution
The offender can pay child support payments to the Department of Family and Protective Services. The guardian responsible for the child’s care may also be eligible for these payments in certain cases. After a defendant is released from custody, they are given twelve months to make payments. An option is available to arrange a payment plan for unpaid balances. Restitution payments can assist in reducing the amount of any financial penalty. The judgment will be implemented according to the standard process applied to other civil judgments.

Effective Date
The regulatory modification is set to be enforced starting September 1st. From September 1, 2023, the amended legislation will govern any criminal acts. Previous legislation will govern actions done before this date since it was still in effect when the offense was committed.

How Bentley’s Law Affects Families?

Potential Benefits for Single Parents
Single parents, often facing numerous challenges in raising a child independently, may find some relief through Bentley’s Law. Mandated child support can provide financial stability, covering essential needs such as education, healthcare, and everyday expenses, which might be challenging for a single parent to manage alone.

Challenges for Single Parents
Despite the potential benefits, single parents may face various challenges under Bentley’s Law. Raising a child who has lost one parent to a tragic event like intoxicated manslaughter can be emotionally and psychologically taxing. Moreover, navigating legal processes and dealing with the convicted non-custodial parent may add further stress and complications to an already difficult situation.

Considering the Best Interests of the Children
Bentley’s Law places a strong emphasis on considering the best interests of the children involved. Judges carefully examine the child’s monetary requirements, living environment, and caregiver identity to determine the ideal child support payment. The ultimate goal is to offer the child sufficient support throughout their development.


Bentley’s Law is a powerful response to intoxicated manslaughter, ensuring accountability for those responsible and providing financial support to children who have lost a parent. Supported by various groups, the law mandates child support payments from individuals convicted of causing the death of a parent with a minor child. Through individualized determination of support amounts and a focus on the children’s best interests, the law aims to create a fair and just framework. Bentley’s Law stands as a beacon of hope, fostering a safer and more supportive environment for affected families, emphasizing responsibility and empathy, and prioritizing the well-being and future of vulnerable children.


Non-compliance consequences include wage deduction, license suspension, asset seizure, credit rating harm, and potential incarceration for defying the court.

Texas’ new drunk driving laws or child support legislation, Bentley’s Law, mandates that those convicted of drunken manslaughter provide financial support for the orphaned kid. Its primary objective is to bring irresponsible motorists to justice and give economic backing to orphaned kids due to tragic alcohol-related fatalities.

Bentley’s Law was signed on June 2 following its approval by the legislative body. This law takes effect on September 1, 2023. Offenses committed on or after September 1, 2023, are covered by this law. Before this date, the previous law that was in force at the time an offense was committed will apply.

According to the new child support law 2023, Texas, or the Bentleys Law, those found guilty of vehicular manslaughter and responsible for the passing of a parent are eligible to fulfill child support obligations through this legislation. The party liable for the guardian’s demise must offer monetary aid for the dependents.









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