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Texas officials target parents behind on child support payments

The Texas Attorney General's Office has developed a program to target parents who are behind on their child support payments. Through the Child Support Evader initiative, the state plans to publicly identify delinquent parents by name and to display their photographs and profiles on posters, in the news media and in other public and private locations. The state hopes the program will lead to tips on where to find parents who are avoiding their financial obligations to their children.

These drastic measures will not be taken on all parents who are behind on their payments. For someone to be listed as a child support evader, several conditions must apply. The parent must be more than $5,000 behind in court-ordered payments and have not made regular payments for at least six months. There must be an arrest warrant issued and the parent must be avoiding apprehension. In addition, the parent must not be in bankruptcy or receiving welfare, and the other parent must sign a waiver of confidentiality allowing certain information about the case to be made public.

As we have reported in recent blog posts, Texas parents owed an estimated $11 billion in unpaid child support as of 2011. When a non-custodial parent does not provide support, the custodial parent has difficulty covering the everyday expenses of raising a child, such as buying food and clothing and paying medical and education expenses. Ultimately, it is the child who suffers most. The goal of the Child Support Evader program is to ensure no child suffers needless financial or emotional hardship.

For those who are having difficulty meeting child support obligations, an experienced child support attorney may be able to help. If your financial circumstances have changed since a support order was set, it may be possible to request a modification. An attorney can also assist in creating a child support order if one parent is not paying.

Source: Attorney General of Texas, "Child Support Evaders," Jan. 18, 2013

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