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Parents behind bars for not paying child support

The Dallas County Sheriff's Department and four separate Dallas County Constable Offices teamed with the Texas Attorney General's Office in a child support enforcement effort. Law enforcement officials hit the streets in the early morning hours of December 11 and arrested 51 parents for failure to pay child support before they could leave home for the day. Those parents now face up to six months behind bars.

During the fiscal year ending August 31, the state collected over $3.4 billion in delinquent child support payments. At least $357 million of that total was recovered in the Dallas area. The recent enforcement effort likely will lead to the collection of more delinquent payments. Any cash bond posted to free the jailed parents will be paid to the custodial parents who are owed the delinquent child support payments.

In Texas, child support guidelines are used to determine the amount of child support owed by the noncustodial parent. Child support is intended to help the custodial parent cover the everyday expenses of raising a child. Financial needs include food and clothing, medical needs, educational expenses and extracurricular expenses. When one parent does not meet his or her financial obligations, it is the child who suffers. Dallas County officials hope the recent enforcement effort gets the attention of other delinquent parents and encourages them to pay up.

If you are delinquent on your child support payments, an experienced child support lawyer may be able to help. The attorney can review the child support order to see if it is fair to both parents and in the best interests of the child. A lawyer also can assist with enforcing a child support order if the other parent is not paying.

Source: CBS DFW, "51 North Texas Parents Arrested In Joint Law Enforcement Initiative," Dec. 12, 2012

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